The Kern County Department of Mental Health has adopted a telepsychiatry program that connects rural residents with mental health workers via video conferencing, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
The program currently has links in 12 cities, and by the end of the year, 26 links will be available in the county, according to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission.
The $520,000 program is funded by Proposition 63, a ballot initiative approved by state voters in 2004 to provide funds for mental health care services. The county so far has received $6 million from the state fund to expand services.
Salvador Del Rosario, a child psychiatrist and clinical coordinator of the telepsychiatry program, said the program serves mostly Medi-Cal patients, so the majority of costs are covered.
Privately insured patients will be charged the equivalent of an in-person visit, Del Rosario said (Hagedorn, Bakersfield Californian, 7/16).