A Message from Our CEO
If you haven’t been following trends in mental health closely, the following might surprise and alarm you:
- The psychiatrist shortage in the United States is relatively well-documented and speaks to serious issues, especially for people living in low-access areas. For example, a recent study by Merritt Hawkins concluded that “the shortage of psychiatrists is an escalating crisis of more severity than shortages faced in virtually any other specialty.
- Research published by the New American Economy found more than 60% of all counties in the United States, including 80% of all rural counties, do not have a single psychiatrist. The study also found that in rural counties, just 590 psychiatrists serve more than 27 million Americans.
- A CDC report titled “The State of Mental Health and Aging in America” found that at least 20% of Americans over 55 experience a mental-health problem every year.
Tackling the Problem of Rural
Behavioral Health through Telehealth
Six Facts that Forefront Telecare is solving today, through telehealth.
1. Behavioral health issues are among the most debilitating to the U.S. economy. We chose rural areas and small towns in America to bring our solution via Telehealth.
2. An aging population and a high prevalence of psychiatric issues among older Americans has grown substantially. Depression, substance abuse, addiction, harmful behaviors, suicide, Alzheimer’s, dementia and other conditions that multiply in an aging population are part of the Forefront Telecare solution.
3. The rapidly decreasing number of psychiatrists — 47,000 in 1997 to 28,000 today — was rapidly outpaced by the growing demand for behavioral services.
a. Diagnoses for Clinical Depression is up 33% in just 5 years.
b. ER visits for psychiatric problems is up 42% in 3 years.
4. The equivalency of behavioral telehealth to in-person treatments is well documented by dozens of studies over 20 years, and that proves their effectiveness.
5. In the communities we serve, it is often not a choice between telehealth or in-person care. It is often a choice of telehealth and no care at all, or driving vast distances to see a provider.
6. With telehealth, we can see patients at a clinically optimal frequency, even in remote areas.
We are a tech-enabled healthcare company with a national provider network of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and other behavioral health professionals who work with us to serve the behavioral health needs of our clients and patients, particularly in underserved areas such as rural communities where skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and other private care facilities need our services.
Forefront is uniquely positioned to solve these problems. And, while I am encouraged by our client support and plans for growth, I am motivated by the fact that such challenges exist. This area of healthcare is in dire need of passionate and talented operators, technologists, providers, salespeople, data scientists and many others to take up the mantle for rural health, senior health and behavioral health at large. If this describes you, please message me on LinkedIn.
– Rob Rebak, CEO