The Inland Northwest Community Foundation awarded St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics a grant of $21,600 and the Steele-Reese Foundation Special Project Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation awarded almost $2800 to provide additional psychiatric services for pediatric and adult patients with mental health issues. The program will provide for continued use of the hospitals’ robots and videoconferencing equipment for counseling and diagnostic sessions between Boise based psychiatrists and local patients.
“One of the biggest challenges facing our region is the lack of local mental health services. There are no community based psychiatrists in Clearwater, Lewis or Idaho County yet our region has one of the highest suicide rates in the state and Idaho has the highest suicide rate in the nation,” said Casey Meza, CEO, CVHC/SMHC. “Our family practice health care providers have expertise with mental health issues, but they are not highly trained in this specialty. Last year, over 3,000 of the visits in our Orofino clinic included mental health diagnoses.” Meza serves on the Region II mental health board and the Governor’s Commission for Health Information Technology.
CVHC and SMHC began providing telepsychiatry services in February, 2009 through a cooperative program with St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. SMHC and CVHC purchase blocks of time from SARMC for adult psychiatric services and contract directly with Dr. William Terry for pediatric psychiatric services.
The grant will help cover the cost of these psychiatric patient visits. Currently, Dr. Terry and Dr. William Hazel use the hospitals’ robots or videoconferencing equipment to meet with individual patients in the Orofino or Cottonwood clinic exam rooms. In the first 15 months of the program CVHC and SMHC conducted 441 pediatric and 432 adult visits.
“We really appreciate the funds from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation and the Special Project Fund within the Idaho Community Foundation because insurances do not cover the entire cost for equipment connectivity and specialist care. The funds will also help cover costs for uninsured or underinsured patients,” said Meza. “The generosity of both foundations will go a long way towards improving the lives of so many patients in our area.”
The INWCF was founded in 1974 in Spokane, Washington and has since expanded to include 10 counties in Eastern Washington and 10 counties in Northern Idaho. In FY 2009 they awarded nearly $3 million in grants. They have more than $55 million in assets from over 285 funds and since 1976 have awarded more than $37 million in grants and scholarships.
The Idaho Community Foundation was established in 1988. Over $42 million has been distributed to a wide variety of philanthropic projects throughout the state. Both hospitals have received past grants from the Special Projects Fund within the Idaho Community Foundation. Last year’s grants through the ICF’s Children’s Charities of Idaho were used to purchase newborn infant scales and an infant warmer at SMH.