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Bridges to Cardiovascular Population Health

Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance(BRTA)Grant: Bridges to Cardiovascular Population Health addresses the health-related challenges to overcome the geographic and economic barriers faced by patients in rural communities. BRTA works with its partners, Bay Aging, the Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board, and Riverside Health System, to expand the delivery of health care services in rural communities to improve population health and demonstrate health outcomes and sustainability, integrating remote patient monitoring, behavioral health and chronic disease self-management training in primary care physicians’ offices, in a rural area.

Coaches work with patients to ensure that they understand self-care instructions, support patients to use remote patient monitoring equipment, assess them for behavioral health support needs and assist them in developing chronic disease self- management skills. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) equipment will provide capability to undertake behavioral health assessments, patient surveys, patient education, and other consultations available through telemedicine in the BRTA network.

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program

The Comprehensive Opioid Response Through Behavioral Health Networks Grant is designed to use telemedicine to address the opioid crisis in rural Virginia. Opioid overdose deaths in Virginia have increased dramatically, from 1999 to 2017. In rural Eastern Virginia the demand for prevention and treatment services for opioid abuse has dramatically increased, while the number of providers and services available in the rural region are simply not adequate to meet the need.

The goal of the project is to address the issue of opioid addiction by increasing the capacity of the behavioral health services system in the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck and Eastern Shore regions of Virginia. To effectively address substance abuse issues, Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) works with its partners, Bay Aging, Riverside Health System, the Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board, and the Ledwith-Lewis Free Clinic, to extend the reach and technical capability of behavioral health providers so that assessments, consultations, and counseling are available in remote areas and provide professional development for providers as well as medical and human service professionals. In addition, obsolete video equipment will be replaced in order to improve video capability at rural hospitals, continue the primary care and specialty care visits currently provided, while also incorporating the opioid assessment, education, and related activities of this new proposal.

School-Based Telehealth Initiative

Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) was awarded federal grant funds for its School-Based Telehealth Initiative (SBTI). BRTA works with the Essex, Northumberland, and Westmoreland County Public Schools to bring healthcare services directly into schools giving students in these rural areas greater access to healthcare. The school-based health services focus on improving access to care and improving outcomes of chronic health conditions including asthma, obesity reduction and prevention, and diabetes, plus behavioral health and oral healthcare.

BRTA’s executive director, Donna Dittman Hale, said “This is a tremendous opportunity to increase the access of rural children in Essex, Northumberland, and Westmoreland counties to high quality healthcare via modern telehealth technologies. We are delighted to be working with our partners over the coming 4 years to make a positive difference in the lives of these children.”