Governor Parson showcases the expansion of behavioral health services through Telehealth

The Governor’s healthcare week highlights the Department of Mental Health’s role in the development and improvements of the behavioral health system

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – As part of the Governor’s Healthcare Week, Governor Mike Parson, along with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Family Guidance Center for Behavioral Healthcare in St. Joseph, Mo., hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday to share information on the expansion of telehealth practices in behavioral health.

“This is a great use of new technology as we work to improve healthcare in rural areas for people who live far away from healthcare facilities or have difficulty receiving the services they need,” Parson said. “By discussing telehealth, we can bring awareness to Missourians who may not know about it. This event provided information so that as we expand telehealth, we can further educate and get more people access to this healthcare option.”

“The use of telehealth for behavioral healthcare has helped the state address problems like the workforce shortage of behavioral health practitioners, the expansion of service areas, and reduced costs and productivity when mental health professionals must travel long distances to deliver services,” Mark Stringer, director of the DMH said. “Telehealth also decreases the need for non-emergency transportation for individuals in rural areas. Now they can receive the behavioral health services they need closer to home.”

At the roundtable event, participants discussed the increase in the utilization of telehealth, as well as the benefits to the state, barriers in the use of technology, and policies that now make behavioral telehealth more accessible.

“Family Guidance Center was excited to have Governor Mike Parson back in Northwest Missouri. We, along with our community partners, appreciate the opportunity to highlight the collaborative work being done by healthcare providers in the St. Joseph community,” Gary Hammond, Chief Executive Officer of Family Guidance Center said. “Timely access to healthcare is one the most significant challenges facing the healthcare industry today. That, along with shortages of trained and qualified providers, have required healthcare entities to move to utilizing telehealth services.”

The event was held Thursday morning at the Family Guidance Center in St. Joseph, MO.