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TelePsychiatry Links UPMC Altoona Inpatients with Mental Health Specialists in Pittsburgh

Altoona Behavioral Health Services First in PA Approved for Inpatient Teleconsults

ALTOONA, Pa., Nov. 16, 2015 UPMC Altoona Behavioral Health Services in partnership with Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC (WPIC) is the first facility in Pennsylvania approved to provide inpatient telepsychiatric services, which use real-time audio-video transmission for face-to-face psychiatric interviews and assessments when patients and psychiatrists are in different locations.
This is a first for psychiatric inpatient programs in Pennsylvania, said Mark Chuff, executive director of UPMC Altoona/Home Nursing Agency Behavioral Health.
 "This is one more example of how our merger with UPMC is benefiting the community,” said Jerry Murray, president UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial.
“The care provided by our physicians is consistently rated amongst the best in the country and this technology allows us to provide the same high quality care to rural and underserved areas,” said Manish Sapra, M.D., associate chief of clinical services, network hospitals and affiliates, WPIC. “We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues at UPMC Altoona and helping to serve the needs of their community.”
“We are very excited to begin the implementation of this new technology to our inpatient program. It will be used on a limited basis on weekends. Excellence and Innovation is part of our values at UPMC and it’s our mission to provide world-class health care.”
“I am grateful for the approval from the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and for their openness to innovative health care,” Chuff added. “I also appreciate the endorsement and support received from hospital administration, Blair County Department of Social Services, Blair Health Services and Community Care.”
UPMC Altoona Behavioral Health Services operates an acute, 34-bed inpatient psychiatric facility for residents age 14 and older in Blair, Bedford and Somerset counties who have mental health, alcohol and substance abuse illnesses.

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