The New Jersey Transition to Adult Coordinated Care (NJTACC) Program, part of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), recognizes that many of its patients struggle to receive psychiatry services that would improve their overall health. To help close this gap, the NJTACC has collaborated with the Telehealth Program of CHOP’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Services to offer psychiatry visits via secure, private video chats.
NJTACC was created to help families of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/D) navigate the challenges related to changes in care during the teen and young adult years. A high proportion of patients with ID/D require psychiatry services, whether the underlying cause is autism, a genetic syndrome or structural brain abnormality. But, psychiatrists with the expertise to meet the needs of these patients, particularly at adolescence and beyond, are scarce and often prohibitively expensive.
Patients are seen by the NJTACC team for a comprehensive visit at the CHOP Specialty Care Center, Princeton at Plainsboro, which helps to identify medical, behavioral, and social support needs. The team coordinates medical care, serving as a liaison to new adult providers and assisting with the changes in social supports that complicate this transitional time. If a psychiatry visit is needed, the patient returns for follow-up at the same Princeton office, where Alyssa Siegel, MD, NCTACC Clinical Director, facilitates video visits with a CHOP psychiatrist.
Lan Chi “Krysti” Vo, MD, Telehealth Medical Director, and Robert Berkowitz, MD, who will treat patients as the telepsychiatrist, are excited to collaborate with NJTACC to provide these innovative video visits to young adults at their convenient site of care. The Telehealth Program’s mission is to facilitate and increase access to high-quality behavioral health services for children and adolescents through the use of telehealth modalities.
“Providing this essential service to our patients is an ideal answer to the mental health crisis created by the shortage of qualified psychiatrists,” Siegel says. “Now, these vulnerable patients will receive the outpatient care they need, in their home state, which will ultimately provide better quality of life, assure safety in their homes and possibly prevent the need for emergency department visits.”
For more information about the NJTACC program, including how to refer a patient, call 215-590-1295, or email NJTACC@email.chop.edu.