Minnesota DHS: Telemedicine and Chemical Health

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is exploring how telemedicine can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions, treatment, and recovery related to Alcohol and Drug Abuse.  Why?  According to DHS research, of all the people who seek treatment for chemical health issues in the US, only 10% actually receive it.  Additionally, rural populations experience the most barriers to substance abuse treatment programs and recovery options.  Telemedicine technology could help ameliorate these problems by extending the reach of chemical health counselors employed in areas like the Twin Cities, to underserved and geographically isolated populations in rural Minnesota, where counselors are harder to find.  However, currently insurers do not resimburse for chemical health services delivered at a distance.  DHS has a task force (the Sustance Use Disorder Model of Care Workgroup on Telemedicine) compiling information on the subject.  The group recently released their first collective report:  Telemedicine/Telehealth Workgroup Issue Analysis.  For more information, visit the DHS website.

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