Posted Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

A request by Saint Clare’s Health Services to use telepsychiatry or real-time secure video conferencing to conduct psychiatric assessments in the psychiatric emergency service units of its Denville and Dover locations will be on the agenda at the Jan. 12 meeting of the Morris County Mental Health Substance Abuse Advisory Board.

Saint Clare’s submitted the waiver request to the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addictions Services asking to use telepsychiatry instead of conducting face-to-face psychiatric evaluation assessments of patients because of what it said were restricted funding resources, a limited availability of psychiatrists and increased salary and operating costs. As a result, Saint Clare’s reports that some consumers face unnecessary transfers while others must wait up to 10 hours before they can be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

Laurie Becker, director of the county’s Division of Behavioral Health and Youth Services, said the county’s Mental Health Substance Abuse Advisory Board will be addressing the waiver request at its Jan. 12 meeting so it can then develop a recommendation to the state as required.

The meeting will take place at 5:15 p.m. in the red conference room on the 3rd floor of the Schuyler Building, 30 Schuyler Place in Morristown.

Saint Clare’s medical staff will be in attendance to give an overview on how telepsychiatry would work and to address any questions or concerns, Becker said.

Becker also said the waiver request may be viewed at online at

Anyone wanting to make comments on the waiver request may do so at the Jan. 12 meeting, or they may e-mail their comments to Becker at [email protected] or they may reach her at 973-285-6852.