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Meridian using telehealth services to reach pandemic clients

Wednesday, December 2nd 2020

My CBS4 by Landon Harrar

Visit this link to see the new story that aired on CBS4

Meridian Behavioral services have had to change with the times like so many others in 2020. Here’s what they’ve done to keep serving North Central Florida clients and how it’s actually helped them serve more than before.

In 2020, Meridian served more than 23,000 clients resulting in almost 700,000 service visits. Still, Meridian CEO Don Savoie says recently they’ve seen a shift in who they are serving.

“Since July we have seen a real influx of folks; and not folks we’d typically see. We’re seeing a lot more of depression and anxiety.”

CBS4’s Landon Harrar reported, “a silver lining to the pandemic for Meridian has been an added access to telehealth services which clients can do right from their couch at home.”

Telehealth has helped overcome a major obstacle for clients, actually getting in the building.

“Transportation used to be the number one barrier for people to get services,” said Savoie. “Telehealth has eliminated that in a lot of ways. And I don’t anticipate us going back to full face-to-face down the road again because we eliminated a barrier in transportation to get access to care.”

In fact, telehealth services have increased from 40 to 400 clients a day with those clients actually get help faster.

“With telehealth, we went from 2-3 weeks out for an appointment to same day next day.” Said Savoie.

Still, in some instances, telehealth won’t cut it and face-to-face help is needed. One example of this, Savoie says Meridian has faced is because most school students are learning virtually they no longer have access to in-school care. So the number of children needing crisis management has jumped from an average of 8 children to around 20.

Original story by CBS4

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