Friendship House starts psychiatrist video chat program at Carbondale Area
JON O'CONNELL, STAFF WRITER, Published: March 14, 2016 Times Tribune
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Starting Tuesday, a handful of Carbondale Area students with emotional needs will be first in the county to visit their psychiatrist from school by video chat.
The school district is implementing video chat technology connecting psychiatrists to their elementary-aged patients who would otherwise be pulled out of school for the day to visit their doctor, or might not go at all because of transportation issues.
“What makes it really powerful, is the fact that not only will the child be present and the guardian or the parent, but we can bring in any and all people that are part of our school district that affect that child at the same time,” said Superintendent Joseph Gorham.
Friendship House, the nonprofit agency running the program, in August had planted a four-person team of clinical professionals in the elementary school. The telepsychiatry program will serve as an extension of their efforts and brings a doctor’s skills to places that have a difficult time getting them.
The region, in general, is in short supply of mental-health professionals, especially when it comes to those who care for children, said Jim Martin, Friendship House’s vice president and chief operating officer. The technology lets the few doctors at hand be in more places without all the travel.
To take part in the program, students first must be approved by a Friendship House psychiatrist. The doctor will have to make sure they are ready and will benefit from a program that facilitates human interaction through a video screen.
“We would want to see that child in our Maple Street clinic first before we moved to telemedicine,” said Mr. Martin.
For now, only the 20 or so Carbondale Area students already connected with Friendship House will take part, he said.
The organization serves children from all backgrounds and accepts those with private insurance as well as government assistance insurance. The school-based programs are funded by the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization and Northeast Behavioral Health Care Consortium.
Friendship House, which aids children with emotional and psychological problems, has been operating a similar telepsychiatry program at Wallenpaupack Area School District for the last two years where about 20 students, grades kindergarten through 12th, take part.
Before it started in 2014, few students with emotional needs got a psychiatrist’s attention, mostly because of logistics, said Superintendent Michael Silsby. Driving to Scranton wasn’t feasible for parents in the district’s rural neighborhoods.
“They miss a lot of school time,” he said “Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t. In both cases it disrupts their education,” he said.
Now, Wallenpaupack students can visit regularly with their doctors — via video chat — who review medication schedules, talk about parents’ concerns and talk with other school officials. The student is back in class minutes after the consultation ends.
Friendship House zeroed in on Carbondale with its school-based programs after seeing a high number of therapeutic support staff (TSS) workers. The school-based program offers more flexibility and clinically shows better results, Mr. Martin said.
Scranton Area School District also uses the school-based teams at John F. Kennedy Elementary, Whittier Elementary and McNichols Plaza Elementary. Friendship house plans to implement telepsychiatry program in those schools over the next few months, Mr. Martin said.
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IBEW LOCAL 81 donates to Friendship House
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81 Bowling League in Scranton recently held the 12th Annual Toby Joyce Memorial Bowling Tournament to benefit Friendship House. 130 bowlers from as far as NY filled the lanes at Southside Bowl.This years event raised $4,500.
Shown at check presentation:
Front Row L to R: Kim Quigley,Friendship House Foster Care and Adoption Mgr.,Jane Connolly,Northeast Regional Autism Center at Friendship House Case Manager, Graig Arcurie, Bob Belardi, Gino Arcurie, Jr., Toby Joyce Committee Bowling Members.
Back row L to R: James R.Martin,Friendship House VP/Chief Operating Officer, Christine Gilroy,Friendship House VP/ Chief Financial Officer, Chris Kuratnick and Ed Scott, Bowling Committee absent is committee member Joe Gibbons.
TCMC raises funds for The Northeast Regional Autism Center during 2014 Alley-Oop for Autism 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.
L to R: James R. Martin, Vice President / Chief Operating Officer at Friendship House; Julia Brister, EIBI Center Manager at Friendship House; Christine A. Gilroy, Vice President / Chief Financial Officer at Friendship House; Shrut Patel, MD2 at TCMC; Gregory Jones, MD2 at TCMC
Proctor and Gamble, Mehoopany, presented Friendship House with funds for the purchase of an updated medical records system. Shown at check presentation are:
(L to R)Christine Gilroy, Vice President and Chief FInancial Officer, Friendship House, Alex Fried, Mehoopany PR, HSE & Energy Affairs Manager, Proctor & Gamble and James Martin,Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Friendship House
Friendship House was the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Heathcare Foundation.
(L to R) Patrick Ackourey and Christine Gilroy, Friendship House Executive Vice-Presidents, Jim Clemente, Chairman of the NEPAHF Board along with Board Members, the Honorable Terry Nealon, Henry Sallusti and Dr. Jerry Eagen.
Two little friends stopped by Pizza by Pappas last week to thank Bill and Tom Sheakoski, owners, and their whole team for their recent efforts during the week long "4th Annual Pizza for Autism Awareness fundraiser" held in April. This fundraiser raised over $20,000 during the past four events and has helped to promote awareness about Autism. Proceeds benefit the Northeast Regional Autism Center at Friendship House. We sincerely thank Bill, Tom, and the entire team at Pizza by Pappas! Pictured are: Athena Lamboy (front), Tom Sheakoski, Angelo Edwards and Bill Sheakoski (back).