The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
the Times 

Telepsychiatry now available at Blue Mountain Counseling

The new program fills a gap in services for youth and adults

 

January 16, 2020

Michele Smith

Telepsychiatry is the process of providing health care from a distance, through video conferencing. Dimita Warren, CEO, and Chrisann Christensen, Clinical Director, at Blue Mountain Counseling of Columbia County are preparing to "go live" with telepsychiatry, this week.

DAYTON-The ability to deliver quality behavioral health services to southeastern Washington communities just got a boost when Blue Mountain Counseling of Columbia County, added telepsychiatry to its treatment protocol.

"This started because none of our counselors are credentialed high enough to prescribe medications if warranted. Adolescents under the age of thirteen aren't being served through some of the other services provided in the community, and we felt this was a good place to start," said CEO Dimita Warren.

Warren said they are working with care provider Brent Landkammer, from Clarkston, Wash., through LocumTenens.com, a healthcare provider agency. Landkammer holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing, and is a board certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP).

"Brent is familiar with small town dynamics. He is comfortable with working with children age eight on up," Warren said.

Clinical Director Chrisann Christensen said the benefits of working with Landkammer are many. They include access to a knowledgeable provider, and prescriber, who has both counseling and nursing experience, and who can also manage medications.

"It's just an extra layer of what we do with substance use disorder and behavioral health services," Christensen said.

"One of the big things is clients can sit one on one and discuss everything from medications, to psychiatric issues and goals," she said.

The counselors will also be able to discuss patient care with Landkammer and develop a course of action for their patients.

"This will provide us with a fresh set of eyes and ears," said Warren.

Providing this service locally will also eliminate some transportation barriers and cut down on wait times.

Currently, people have to go outside the area, either to the Tri-Cities, or Spokane, for this level of care, and youth sometimes have to travel as far as Lourdes Counseling Center in the Tri-Cities, Warren said.

"It could take you weeks to get in," she said.

New clients will need to call the Blue Mountain Counseling Center for an appointment with a mental health therapist. If telepsychiatry services are warranted, the counselor will make the necessary referral to Landkammer, Warren said.

A full array of services is offered at Blue Mountain Counseling, including; substance use disorder services, community support services, individual and family services, brief short-term crisis services, jail services, adult day services, support groups and education, and now telepsychiatry services.

Warren said funding for telepsychiatry services is through a grant from the Greater Columbia Communities of Accountable Health.

Blue Mountain Counseling of Columbia County is a nonprofit agency helping to provide integrated behavioral health to southeastern Washington communities.

Dr. Michael Luce is the Medical Director, and the staff at Blue Mountain Counseling is licensed, certified, or registered, and meet applicable state standards, Warren said.

Blue Mountain Counseling of Columbia County is located at 221 East Washington Street. For more information or to make an appointment by phone, call: (509)382-1164.

 

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