Community, United Hospital
Spectrum Health offers telemedicine for students
Greenville High School first site of behavioral health pilot
May 28, 2019
GREENVILLE, MI; 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 System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $585 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.