Community, Kelsey Hospital, United Hospital

Spectrum Health offers telemedicine for students

Greenville High School first site of behavioral health pilot

GREENVILLE, Mich., May 28, 2019 — Responding to the needs of the community’s youth, Spectrum Health and Greenville Public Schools have partnered to launch a pilot program to provide high school students on-site behavioral health therapy services, starting this fall.

The Spectrum Health Greenville High School Telemedicine Clinic will give high school students an opportunity to see a licensed master social worker who will offer behavioral assessment and therapy/counseling in a private room via videoconference without leaving the school.

This school pilot program is the first of its kind throughout the Spectrum Health System. A need for the service was identified after a recent Community Health Needs Assessment, completed every three years by Spectrum Health. The assessment gathers comprehensive input from area health professionals and hundreds of community residents.

Greenville Public Schools Superintendent Linda VanHouten expressed gratitude and excitement for the collaboration with Spectrum Health on the initiative.

“We are thrilled to have this new element of support for our students,” she said.  “Mental illness is a serious concern for us and we know that we cannot take this on alone,” VanHouten added.

Greenville High School currently has one social worker for its 1,200-student population and this program will give teens access to professional, confidential, clinical services in a timely and convenient way.

“I am proud that we can work in partnership with Spectrum Health to provide a service that focuses on the mental health of our students, as we know supporting the whole student is critical to their success,” VanHouten said. “We are grateful for the support from Spectrum Health and are grateful for their willingness to invest in our students and ultimately our community.”

Andrea Leslie, president of Spectrum Health United, Kelsey, Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals echoed VanHouten in her happiness for being able to work together on this program.

“May is Mental Health Awareness month, so it’s a perfect time to announce this collaborative effort,” Leslie said. “We know teenagers today have unique pressures and needs and we’re thrilled to be able to bring these services to Greenville High School students.”

Katie Thorsen, telemedicine specialist at Spectrum Health, said being able to lease space at the school allowed the program to move forward. “We are very excited about this program,” she said. “We will be able to see students for behavioral health therapy, which right now the need is tremendous at GHS,” Thorsen said.

“I think this program is going to be awesome. I am hopeful we can help some students,” she said.

The telemedicine clinic will be available mornings at the school. Students will be referred by GHS staff and will coordinate a visit through a Spectrum Health clinical staff member on site. The licensed master social worker will be based in Lakeview at Spectrum Health’s Lakeview Youth Clinic.

Spectrum Health has been using telemedicine across their system for over four years to offer patients on demand 24/7 low acuity primary care visits as well as specialty telemedicine visits.

Parents or guardians do not have to be present for a student to be seen in the clinic, however, to bill insurance companies for the service, a consent form must be signed. The clinic will not prescribe medicine or provide pregnancy termination counseling.

More information about the program will be shared with parents before school starts this fall. Information and staff will be available at the school’s annual block party event August 7.

For more information on Spectrum Health’s telemedicine services, visit SpectrumHealth.org/MedNow.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan. People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.

Contact:
John Norton
Communications Specialist
Office: 231.592.4387
Mobile: 231.580.1079
Email: john.norton@spectrumhealth.org