'Walk A Mile In Our Shoes' Brings Awareness to AutismWatch the video and read the article on WBOY's Site
Be A Mountaineer, Spread the Word to End the Word
This student-produced video was the collaborative work of Amber Murphy (Public Relations) and Whitney Godwin (Journalism) with assistance from Greg Olenik (Journalism).
You can also watch the video on YouTube's Website.
Brain Injuries Brought To Attention Of Legislators
Reported by: Bethany Simmons
Also Contributing: Kristin Keeling
Reported: Mar. 8, 2013 1:10 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Several people met with legislators Friday at the state Capitol to discuss the severity of brain injuries.
People from the Center for Excellence in Disabilities said brain injuries are considered a silent epidemic. They said West Virginia is behind compared to other states when it comes to meeting the needs of brain injury survivors.
They talked to legislators about their push for rehabilitation services for those survivors. Even though awareness is increasing, officials said there is still a long way to go.
"That's the only reason I can stand here and coherently talk because I was blessed enough to have good insurance, and for people who don't have that opportunity, brain injury... there's almost no coming back if you don't have the opportunity for residential brain injury rehabilitation," said Brad Anderson, a brain injury survivor.
Nearly two million people sustain a brain injury every year in the United States.See this story and video on the WCHS website.
Gov. Tomblin Signs WV Autism Bill
Posted: Apr 02, 2012 7:46 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 02, 2012 7:46 PM EDT
April is Autism Awareness month, and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin kicked it off Monday by signing a bill to help kids with autism receive the treatment they need.
The bill gives families many more options when it comes to treating children with autism. Gov. Tomblin signed the bill in front of a room full of people who not only supported the bill, but those that will benefit from it as well at West Virginia University's Center for Excellence in Disabilities.
"This is one of the primary areas in West Virginia where this training can be received for autistic children, and Dr. (Susannah) Poe does a great job running the program here," Tomblin said, "and we thought it'd just be appropriate for people to get to know a little more about the program that's offered here at WVU."
Dr. Susannah Poe directs the autism program at the CED, and she was one of the advocates for the legislation.
"This bill is going to make a enormous difference in the life of children who have autism," she said.
The program at the CED offers the kind of intensive treatment that the bill will now cover. It allows for three years of intensive treatment up to $30,000. After that, the bill covers up to $24,000 in treatments until they're 18.
"For families that have gone from limited services and long waiting lists, these children will new have an opportunity to have a much broader range of evidence- based services," Poe said. "We're thrilled."
Tomblin said an estimated one out of every 91 children has been diagnosed with autism, and at that number the cost of the bill can seem high. Tomblin said the state will be saving money in the long run.
Poe agreed and said the real benefit will be made in the life of that child and its family.
"We spend money when they're little, and we save millions as they get older," Poe said, "because most of these children can learn to become independent, and will be able to hold jobs and support themselves."
The CED also received a grant to train people in West Virginia on the implementation of the new bill.
Legislators pass autism insurance billClick here for the full story on the Charleston Daily Mail website.
Program helps the disabled through creating art
MCT REGIONAL NEWS
By Alex Lang
The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va. (MCT)
Feb. 28--Sitting in front of a canvas, Vicki Shaffer noted her disability puts limitations on what she can do. "But when I'm painting, I can go all over the canvas."
"The wheelchair doesn't let me feel free," Shaffer said.
Shaffer, who has cerebral palsy, is one of dozens of disabled people who are part of the Real Opportunities Make People Productive (ROMPP) program. The program is administered though the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED).
"The art program teaches you, you can go beyond your limits," Shaffer said.
Fine Art/Outreach Training Coordinator Helen Panzironi said there are 87 clients in the program. Theprogram works with people of all ages and helps get them involved with art programs already established in various communities. She said they are try- ing to get more K-12 students into the program and working to expand into other types of art, such as dance.
Participating in art helps level the playing field for disabled people, Panzironi said. She displays many pieces of the program's art work in her office.
Some people "have a lot of trepidation when they first start," she said, so part of her job is to help ease the way.
When Panzironi first suggested that Shaffer start painting, Shaffer said she scoffed at the idea. But in 2006 her brother was injured in an accident and she turned to art to express how she was feeling.
"If not for painting, I wouldn't have gotten through that accident," Shaffer said.
Now, Shaffer said, she paints about once a week. She might spend a couple of hours, and it takes multiple sittings to complete a painting.
"It gives you an avenue to express yourself," Shaffer said about art.
Tucker Lewis, 17, is another participant. Lewis has cerebral palsy and is paralyzed from the neck down.
He uses a tracker -- a person who stands at the canvas and asks a series of yes-or-no questions to determine what Lewis wants to paint. Through facial expressions and blinking, Lewis tells the the tracker what and where to paint on the canvas.
Lewis' mother, Debi, said it always surprises people when they see his art and she enjoys watching their reaction.
Debi was quick to say it's not art therapy, but has become Tucker's vocation. He usually sells at least one painting when participating in an art show.
Noting one of the benefits of the program she said it "hasn't changed him.
To see more of The Dominion Post or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.dominionpost.com/.
©2011, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
WVU research helps parents of children with autism through therapy video
One in 91 children in West Virginia is diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.
Researchers and faculty at West Virginia University are performing videoed training sessions to help children with autism reach their full potential by teaching their families how to perform applied behavior analysis therapy. Applied behavior analysis is a sub discipline of psychology that focuses on how changes in the environment can affect behavior.
WVU psychology professor Dr. Claire St. Peter Pipkin is collaborating on this project with Dr. Mark Clingan and other staff from the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at WVU with funding provided from the Health Resources Services Administration.
According to St. Peter Pipkin, there is already substantial evidence supporting early, intensive intervention for autism based on applied behavior analysis.
“The research should provide an immediate benefit to families of children with autism in West Virginia because it will increase the availability of treatment resources,” she said. “Training parents to implement applied behavioral analysis therapy may also help reduce their stress levels.”
If using videoed training is effective, it could greatly increase the access of rural children with autism to empirically based intervention.
This grant supports a research project aimed at ways of teaching parents of children with autism to correctly implement an intervention for autism based on applied behavior analysis.
“This grant will allow people outside the immediate area to benefit from training and to develop skills that will enable them to play a key role in the development of their children’s essential skills,” Clingan said. “The Center for Excellence in Disabilities is proud to expand existing services to a greater portion of West Virginians.”
“There are currently some major barriers to rural children with autism receiving treatments based on applied behavior analysis,” St. Peter Pipkin said.
“First, there are not many people in the state who are well-trained on how to do the intervention. Second, parents who live near someone trained often can’t afford to pay for regular teaching sessions,” she said. “We are testing whether parents can be trained to implement the intervention through the use of written or videoed instructions.
“Although we are specifically targeting young children with autism who live in rural West Virginia, the use of this technology also has implications for the treatment of other populations that struggle to access resources, such as low-income parents in urban areas.”
The Center for Excellence in Disabilities provides services for children with autism in a clinic setting at its main office in Morgantown.
According to Clingan, this is not the first time the two departments have collaborated. Doctoral students from the psychology department have received graduate assistantships from the center for the past several years to help with research activities.
“The project also provides the opportunity for the Center for Excellence in Disabilities to continue in its initiative in training young professionals,” Clingan said. “In addition to psychology, students from various disciplines will have the opportunity to learn from their work with this project.”
CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
304-293-7405, ext. 5251, Rebecca.Herod@mail.wvu.edu
Melina Danko, Public Relations/Dissemination Manager
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
WVU to hold educational luncheon and webinar March 31
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Services program at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED) at West Virginia University is hosting a lunch and webinar for brain injury survivors, families, and area service agencies on Wed., March 31. The luncheon begins at 1 p.m., followed by TBI survivor stories and the webinar at the CED.
The title of the program is “Why do we see personality changes after TBI?” Personality changes after a traumatic brain injury can vary from person to person and affect the whole family. Depending on the extent and location of the injury, impairments caused by a brain injury can vary widely. Among the most common impairments are difficulties with memory, mood, and concentration. Others include significant deficits in organizational and reasoning skills, learning, cognitive and executive functions.
Every year, as a result of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):
3,600 West Virginians are hospitalized
700 West Virginians die
600 West Virginians experience long term disabilities
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and the 2010 campaign theme is “Concussion is a brain injury. Get the facts.”
For more information, see tbi.cedwvu.org.
Note to editors: Before the webinar, reporters are invited to interview TBI program staff and participants. Local residents who live with brain injuries will be available to talk about their experiences.
Caucus-Goers: Growing Counties Need More Public Transit Cash
Group Hopes to Drive West Virginia's Focus on Public Transportation
Stages Builds Confidence through Music, Center for Excellence in Disabilities
Reprinted from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, February 7, 2010
PRINCETON - Having a disability doesn't mean all the world is closed off. By learning how to create music, people coping with blindness, autism and other conditions soon learn they have a way to touch all the people around them.
Through a program of the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at WVU, Stages Music School in Princeton can now offer free music lessons to disabled adults and children in the Mercer County area, said Kellan Sarles, public information specialist for Mercer County Schools.
Stages's director, Melissa McKinney, said the school teaches piano, guitar, bass, drums, and voice. Eligible individuals - those for whom a disability substantially limits function in at least three life areas - can take lessons at no cost. The grant will also purchase instruments for students with verifiable financial need.
"I've been teaching children since I moved from North Carolina about 10 years ago," McKinney said. "I've worked with children with autism and with varied disabilities. I've had a blind piano student, a young 8-years-old. It's my belief the music is very healing to anybody, so this is a great way to get some kids and adults in here who have always thought they might like to play an instrument. Kind of gives them a push to come on in here and give it a try."
And having a disability doesn't prevent a person from learning to play a musical instrument or sing. McKinney recalled how her blind piano student excelled.
"It was wonderful, it was amazing. When you have a disability, all your other senses are enhanced. His ear for music well surpassed anybody that age I had ever seen before," she said.
Learning to play music also helps to build self-esteem, she said.
"Well, number one, it gives them confidence, and this is for anybody. It gives you confidence to be able to pick up an instrument and be able to play or sing, and we encourage interaction. A guitar player with a drummer, a piano player with a singer. It's a bridge to interaction with other people in a positive way," McKinney said. "I really think the biggest thing I can see these kids gaining is confidence in their skills and in their abilities and in themselves."
Stages teaches guitar, base, vocal and piano, she said.
Funded through a federal grant administered by the W.Va. Division of Rehabilitative Services, the WVU Center for Excellence developed a program called ROMPP - "Real Opportunities Make People Productive."
According to Helen Panzironi, Coordinator for the WVU Center, the program aims to support artists who have disabilities so they may achieve their goals for the future, whether interested in the arts as a profession, hobby or just for exploration. The essence of this program involves increasing access to community resources to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the fine arts.
Panzironi said the program has been in place for five years but the funding has varied.
"My funding is not unlimited, but right now I have some money to spend," she said. "The program is offered state-wide, and participation is on a first-come, first-served basis."
McKinney said she was enthusiastic about her music school and what it can offer students.
"We have developed a family here," she said. "We work very hard to create a safe, positive environment in which learners can accept and encourage each other's efforts. We acknowledge that every child is unique and we promote self-esteem and respect for others in every aspect of the learning process."
To date, Stages is the only private music school in this area taking advantage of the program. Panzironi said other instructors, including those giving private lessons, could also participate.
For more information, contact Melissa McKinney, Stages Music School at 304-425- 7529. For information about ROMPP, contact the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at 877-724-8244 or TTY 800-518-1448.
Free Home Assessments to Seniors
Reprinted from the Weirton Daily Times, June 29, 2009: Community Section
CHANGE, Inc., in partnership with West Virginia University's Center for Excellence in Disabilities, will be conducting two informational seminars to help West Virginians, age 60 or over, obtain FREE home assessments and up to $500 in home modifications and/or repairs.
Taking Charge of Your Health and Safety is a program designed to assist seniors maintain a healthy and safe environment while living independently in their own home. Home assessments done will help identify safety hazards and accessibility issues. With the homeowners input, modifications are made to ensure the resident remains in their home and continues to enjoy the independent lifestyle to which they are accustomed.
"We are very excited to become part of this senior networking program. Our senior community makes up a large population of our area, a very proud population. The program will help them maintain their home, empowering them to live independently for as long as the can at NO expense to them," explains Donna Gialluco, Community Outreach Coordinator for CHANGE, Inc.
Taking Charge Seminars will be held on Tuesday. The first is at 9:30AM at the Brooke County Senior Center located on Main Street in Follansbee. A second presentation will be at noon at the Greater Weirton Senior Center on Main Street in Weirton.
For additional information contact Donna Gialluco at CHANGE, Inc. (304) 797-7733.
Garden Brings Tranquility and Hope to Residents
Reprinted from the The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register, May 24, 2009by Linda Comins / Arts & Living Editor
Initially dubbed the "Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints" program, the garden at Peterson Rehabilitation Hospital and Geriatric Center in Wheeling has grown into a place of beauty, offering a sense of serenity and an appreciation of the natural world.
The garden is the brainchild - and the result of toil and sweat - of Ohio County master gardeners. The growing place is named the Sherry Holloway Garden at Peterson, in honor of the late Wheeling resident who was an accomplished gardening enthusiast. Established in the summer of 2008, the garden project is continuing and expanding this summer.
"The gardens at Peterson Hospital are one of a kind," officials of the facility stated. "The vision for the gardens are to create a place of tranquility, healing and teaching to our residents, family members and community."
Master gardener and Wheeling resident Sandra Hebrank - whom her colleagues credit with doing the bulk of the hard work - said, "We've done a lot of work at Peterson - a lot of sweat in hot weather."
About 15 volunteers have been involved in the initial stages of the garden's development. As an integral component of the "Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints" initiative, part of the gardening process is designed to be done by Peterson residents who are able to plant seeds and watch them grow. Adaptive elements allow residents who use wheelchairs to participate in the planting effort.
A number of members of the local organization of master gardeners (who have completed a series of gardening courses conducted by the West Virginia University extension service) are involved in the Peterson garden project, Hebrank said. Master gardeners Frank McNeill and Dr. Fred Payne of Wheeling put up a nine-foot-tall deer fence to deter four-legged invaders. The group received a grant from the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley to purchase the deer fence. McNeill also has built arbors for the garden.
In addition, students from Belmont Technical College built elevated planter walls for the garden. Hebrank and her husband, Donald, laid 80-pound pavers on the ground so that wheelchairs could be rolled into the garden.
As a result of all those efforts, residents can pull their wheelchairs up to the planter walls and help plant seeds, she said. Planting their own vegetables allows residents to have an interest in the project and gives them "something to look forward to," she pointed out.
Using adaptive methods, residents made seed balls that they threw onto the ground, with "beautiful flowers" being the end result, she said. In art therapy classes, residents painted bowling balls to resemble ladybugs; the recycled sporting items were then placed as ornamental elements in the garden.
"We have tools that WVU has given us so some of the residents can use them," she said. "This garden is such a neat thing for the residents."
Hebrank commented, "All the residents come out and say how nice this is. Their families like it, too."
Organizers also are having a pergola built for the garden. "It will be so nice for the residents. There will be a lot of shade," Hebrank said.
The garden is planned to include herbs, vegetables, annual flowers, ornamental conifers and flowering vines, she said. Sections are designated as butterfly, hummingbird and shade gardens. Sunflowers and coneflowers are dried and hung in grapevine wreaths for birds to eat.
The butterfly and hummingbird garden area features plants that butterflies and hummingbirds like. "We've had several hummingbirds," she said.
Vegetables planted in the garden include lettuce, green beans, broccoli, eggplant and tomatoes.
Payne hopes to start a doctor's apothecary garden at Peterson this summer. The apothecary garden, reflecting colonial days, should be of interest to families and schoolchildren, he said.
Not only is the garden offered to inspire rehab patients at the hospital and elderly residents of the facility, but also it is designed to appeal to visitors. Last summer, children from the Orchard Park child care center, which was located nearby, came to Peterson to look at the garden. The youngsters discussed gardening and learned about the different types of flowers and vegetables being cultivated.
After the initial growing season, Barbara Sisarcick, executive director of Peterson, wrote a letter of thanks to the Ohio County master gardeners last September. She stated, "The garden is now such a lovely place to sit and visit, reflect on the day, read a book or take in the wonderful flowers and plants. You have definitely added sunshine to all that enter the garden."
The environmental department of the Woman's Club of Wheeling has become a partner with the Ohio County master gardeners for the garden project at Peterson. A number of the club members are gardeners, and they will "help us with the labor, the daily maintenance and care," Payne said.
The Oglebay greenhouse is providing the master gardeners with space to germinate seeds for the garden. The Peterson resident council bought hoses and oscillators for watering the garden.
Additional volunteers are being sought to plant and cultivate the garden. "Everyone is more than invited to volunteer and come up and help," Hebrank said. Volunteers can work with master gardeners at the site to water, "dead head" plants and weed the garden.
In addition to completing the extension service course work, a gardener must complete 30 hours of volunteer service in order to be certified as a master gardener, Hebrank said. After certification, master gardeners must give 12 hours of volunteer service each year. Through the work at Peterson and other volunteer opportunities, she said, "We (the master gardeners) are able to give to somebody else now."
The master gardeners have given thousands of hours of work at Peterson. "It's been a huge labor of love," Payne commented.
The group also hopes to have an area at Peterson designated as a wildlife habitat, Payne and Hebrank said.
As an experiment and "green" initiative, the gardeners plan to try something new this year. Payne said that Belco Crafts shreds and bags paper that is free of lead and ink, and "we are trying to grow some plants in it, as you would in straw bales." He added, "It's a fantastic way of using cleaner garbage."
In addition, the master gardeners have purchased two large composters to fill with "clean garbage from Peterson," in order to create compost material. "We're going to learn a lot about composting," Payne remarked. "We're not just talking about it, we're doing it."
The Peterson resident council and the master gardeners also are looking for residents, family members, employees and community members to join the seed starter volunteer program. Volunteers would help with the planning and growing of the therapeutic gardens. To donate time and energy to the growing project, call Peterson's recreation department at 304-234-0793.
Reprinted from the Martinsburg Journal, April 13, 2009
by Tricia Lynn Strader / Special to The Journal
MARTINSBURG - Last week, Bethany Martin, 19, saw her pediatric neurologist in an annual visit.
Since she was about 10, she has been seeing a neurologist for occasional seizures. Seeing your doctor annually or semi-annually isn't unusual. What is unusual is that since she was about 12, Bethany has traveled to West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown to see a pediatric neurologist.
On April 7, however, she saw her current neurologist, Dr. Maggie Jaynes, pediatric neurologist and WVU School of Medicine professor, via video while sitting at the Dorothy McCormack Center at City Hospital.
"My mom works for WVU Eastern Division, and has been telling me about telemedicine conferences they have between here, Morgantown and Charleston at work," says Bethany. "So, I thought it would be cool to see Dr. Jaynes that way."
Bethany, her mom and a nurse were in an exam room in Martinsburg, discussing her case with Dr. Jaynes, who was linked up via video from Morgantown. Telemedicine has been around since the 1990s in West Virginia, and used extensively by WVU for educational and administrative purposes.
There have been many such doctor visits, or clinics, throughout the state, with the doctors still headquartered in Morgantown. But last year was the first time it was used for doctor visits in the Eastern Panhandle. And this was the first time Bethany experienced it.
It's called Mountaineer Doctor Television, and it provides telehealth and education services throughout West Virginia and Maryland. Telemedicine is defined as the use of telecommunications technology for medical diagnosis and patient care when the provider and client are separated by distance. Currently, there are 42 member sites in West Virginia and one in Maryland. Services include telemedicine consultations like Bethany's, interactive video conferencing consisting of WVU graduate and undergraduate programs, continuing education and administrative events or training seminars.
In a rural state such as this, patients are sometimes required to travel long distances to see a specialist. This entails expense, time and disruption of family life affecting not only the patient, but family members as well. Telemedicine consultations allow patients to remain in their own community while receiving specialized care. And, advocates say, it allows the patient to maintain the relationship with the primary care provider, who coordinates care with the specialist.
Telemedicine consultations use state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment originally developed for the military and NASA. The specialist is on one end of a video monitor, while the patient and nurse or other health care provider are at their home clinic. The health care provider takes the patients' vitals, gets a history and preliminary information. Labs and other tests are often ordered prior to the consultation by the primary care physician. During the telemedicine consultation, the health care provider conducts the exam with direction from the specialist. The high-resolution cameras and equipment allow the specialist to zoom in to see whatever he or she needs to see.
Jaynes has been conducting telemedicine consultations for a little more than 10 years through a location in Lewisburg. She began telemedicine consultations in Martinsburg last year.
She had nine patients scheduled on the same day as Bethany, and 14 more scheduled later in the week. "The numbers of telemedicine clinics are increasing," she says. "I probably see 20 kids a month this way."
She says the program makes a lot of sense.
"It saves driving time for the parents, who may have to take a day off from work. The weather is not as much of a factor. They may have to bring other children along if they travel to Morgantown because there wouldn't be anyone home to see them to or from the bus or provide care. It works very well, I think."
It saves time and expense for the specialist as well. "I travel to Wheeling regularly and have been to clinics in Lewisburg and Martinsburg a couple times," Jaynes says. "But as busy as we are here in Morgantown, I couldn't do it on a regular basis. It wouldn't be a good use of my time."
Bethany and her mother, Kim Martin, used to travel a couple times a year to Morgantown to see Dr. Jaynes' predecessor, and now Dr. Jaynes. Now, she only needs to see a neurologist once a year, but the telemedicine clinic saves them both time and expense.
"I have sat in on meetings using it for work," Martin says. "It's a clean video, and you can see each other and talk back and forth. And before, we were driving back and forth to Morgantown every three months; then, twice a year. This will save the travel for us."
Bethany is glad she was able to continue this long with Dr. Jaynes, who normally works with younger children. And Bethany hopes she will be able to continue with Dr. Jaynes using telemedicine consultations.
"With the other doctors I'd seen, they talked more to my mom. Dr. Jaynes include me in the conversation, and talks to me," says Bethany. "I feel calmer with her, like I can talk to her. And she treats me like more of an adult."
Plus, having the specialist seeing the patient via video allows the patient to keep that personal relationship with their primary care physician; that physician and the specialist can coordinate a lot via electronic medical records, the telemedicine consultation or other means.
"As a group, we can develop a plan for the patient," says Dr. Jaynes. "We can pass information easily, and the primary care physician can give me good feedback because he or she is seeing the patient on a regular basis and knows what is going on in the patient's life that may be affecting that patient."
"Every state has one if not more telemedicine networks," says Chris Budig, director of development for Mountaineer Doctor Television, WVU Health Sciences Center. "It's becoming more prevalent - Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California and Wyoming have massive networks. West Virginia is not as giant as some, but for the most part, the West Virginia medical community has been very active since beginning to get telemedicine in the state." He says telemedicine is not a new concept.
In the 1950s in Nebraska, the psychiatric profession used micro TV technology.
In the 1970s in Boston at Logan Airport, Budig says they used telemedicine in disaster planning and implementation programs.
In the 1980s, companies were working on compressed video for NASA and the U.S. military. Video conferencing was perfect for use on the battlefield. The technology became available to the public in the late 1980s. Fortune 500 companies started using the technology for video conferencing.
The first groups to use it for medicine were WVU, University of Kansas and University of Georgia, in the early 1990s.
An Appalachian Regional Commission grant in 1992 kick-started MDTV. Later, grant funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy expanded the program.
Overseen by WVU School of Medicine, MDTV has more than 40 sites throughout the state, and Budig says 19 more are being added. Those sites in this area include Harpers Ferry Family Medicine, City Hospital, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Michael Medical in Moorefield. In Maryland, a nearby site is Garrett County Memorial in Oakland.
Telemedicine clinics are currently available in pediatric neurology, psychiatry, rheumatology, nephrology, endocrinology and dermatology. Budig says the need ebbs and flows, so clinics are adjusted accordingly.
Patients must get a referral from their primary care doctor for telemedicine clinics, and Budig says some insurances may not cover the cost as it may not be considered a necessity. Some insurances accepted are mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid, Medicare and PEIA. Patients may need to find out in advance if they are covered for telemedicine clinics.
Budig points out also that because the time is blocked out as a video conference clinic, the patient is seen closer to the exact appointment time than some in-office visits may be in typical doctor's office.
"This is a patient service, not a doctor service," he says. "It's easier for a family practitioner to send someone to another city than setting up a schedule of telemedicine appointments. But it's a wonderful service to families because it does not disrupt their lives so much; so, we are asking primary care doctors to go the extra mile. A doctor who does not have the equipment can refer a patient to a facility that has the equipment."
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