FCMC Launches New Telepsychiatry Program



Franklin County Medical Center has partnered with InSight + Regroup, a national telepsychiatry service provider organization, to bring telepsychiatry services to individuals in their community seeking psychiatric care and treatment. 

Franklin County Medical Center (FCMC) and InSight + Regroup are pleased to announce a new partnership to increase access to mental health care for residents in southeast Idaho and the surrounding areas in Cache Valley. This new program ensures individuals in these communities to have access to timely, quality psychiatric care.  Through this service, patients can connect with Dr. David Leavitt, an experienced telepsychiatry clinician skilled at diagnosing and treating mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. 

Telepsychiatry is mental and behavioral health care delivered through real-time videoconferencing in a secure, private place. It is a safe and effective way to meet the escalating need for care, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telepsychiatry is great for allowing more people access to behavioral health care.  Since there is a significant nationwide shortage of mental health professionals, telepsychiatry makes it easier for them to see more people in more places. Telepsychiatry clinicians are experts in their field and trained in providing quality care through technology.  Research shows that telepsychiatry is clinically appropriate for nearly all patient populations and has been found to be as effective as in-person care. 

Mental health is a top concern in Idaho, as many individuals in the state are living with mental health disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 5% of adults in Idaho have a serious mental health condition and only 48% of them receive any form of treatment from either the public system or private providers. The remaining 52% receive no mental health treatment.[1] In fact, Mental Health America ranks Washington 50 out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. for prevalence of mental health and substance use issues.[2] And, Idaho is consistently among the states with the highest suicide rates.  The suicide rate in Idaho is 58% higher than the national average, with 22.9 suicides per 100,000 people.[3] 

Further compounding the problem, there is a significant shortage of mental health professionals in the state, so many residents are not receiving the treatment they need.  In Franklin County alone, the ratio of population to mental health providers is 1,530:1, compared to the state ratio of 480:1.[4] This means that more than 75% of Idaho’s population has inadequate access to mental health professionals.[5] 

“Accessible mental health care is more important than ever as many people in our area and across the country grapple with the mental health effects due to COVID-19.  We recognize the growing need in our community and determined telepsychiatry would contribute to the solution. We are excited to be able to offer this innovative new service to our patients. Given the shortage of psychiatry providers in our region, we believe telepsychiatry is a way to ensure patients with mental health concerns get the quality care that they need,” said Darin Dransfield, Chief Executive Officer at Franklin County Medical Center. 

“Telepsychiatry gives communities unprecedented access to mental health care specialists. We are pleased to partner with Franklin County Medical Center to offer this service and are encouraged by the recent decision by Governor Brad Little to make the temporary COVID-19 related telehealth flexibilities extended to healthcare organizations during the public health emergency permanent,” said Bridget Mitchell, Vice President of Scheduled Services at InSight + Regroup. “Telepsychiatry is a great solution, not only in Idaho, but also in many other states across the nation where there is significant mental health need and a shortage of psychiatry providers.”   

For more information, please call the FCMC Speciality Clinic at 208.852.3662 or email sclinic@fcmc.org.