Providence tackles provider burnout with virtual counseling

Burnout rates among health care professionals is a growing issue nationwide. About 44 percent of health care providers experience signs of burnout, such as stress, anxiety and depression, according to Medscape, which tracks the medical industry.

Recognizing the need, Providence launched Telebehavioral Health Concierge for caregivers and their dependents throughout the state, including at Richland’s Kadlec. The service is now available to 40,000 employees and family members of Providence organizations and partners

It is a new program, granting access to virtual appointments for confidential, convenient mental health care.

The program provides same-day or next-day access to licensed mental health professionals for help with addressing burnout and other mental health concerns.

Across Washington it’s also offered at Providence Health & Services, Swedish Health Services, and Pacific Medical Centers.

Providence’s remaining family of organizations plan to adopt the service by the end of 2020, making it available to 119,000 employees and their 80,000 to 90,000 dependents across seven states. 

“We heal others best when we are healthy ourselves, mind, body and spirit,” said Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, executive vice president and chief clinical officer, in a news release. “The Telebehavioral Health Concierge is one way to support the well-being of all who serve in our facilities and communities. We’re excited about seeing this innovative service scale and making it available to more people in need.”

The concierge began as a pilot several months ago, leading to more than 1,100 virtual appointments. Initial feedback from participants further validate the need for greater access to behavioral health services and more convenient solutions, according to Providence officials.

Nearly 50 percent of participants surveyed said they would have not sought professional help if they didn’t have access to this service, or known where else to seek help.

“Growing a virtual care network to improve access across the western United States is important, because it enables us to deliver tailored care to those struggling to get or find help,” said Dr. Todd Czartoski, telehealth chief medical officer. “The opportunity to care for our own is really special, and we are thrilled to see such a robust response to this service.”

The concierge is the latest initiative in Providence St. Joseph Health’s long-standing efforts to address caregiver burnout, officials said.

Previously, Providence St. Joseph Health partnered with other health systems and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in an initiative called Joy in Work.

Other initiatives included mental health first aid classes to train caregivers to appropriately respond to someone in a mental health crisis, scheduled monthly compassion networking calls and the implementation of training and protocols to help address existing and emerging workplace dangers and find ways to reduce them.

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