By Emory University

The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP), which is celebrating its five-year anniversary during November’s National Veterans & Military Families Month, is expanding its virtual telemedicine services to include 13 states across the country.

EHVP psychologists are now credentialed through the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), allowing them to provide telemedicine services to warriors (post-9/11 veterans and active duty service members) living in states that have joined PSYPACT.

The PSYPACT was developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards to allow approved professionals from a PSYPACT state to legally practice over state lines in any one of the other member states. In addition to Georgia, EHVP psychologists can practice via telemedicine in Texas, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Pennsylvania. EHVP psychologists will be able to practice in additional PSYPACT states in the near future.

As one of four academic medical centers in the United States supported by Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network, the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program provides expert, collaborative care for post-9/11 veterans and service members at no cost to the warrior.

Since EHVP launched in 2015, it has treated more than 2,300 warriors with a variety of mental health concerns, including post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, depression and anxiety. Treatment options include outpatient and intensive outpatient programs which integrate care in multiple areas including psychiatry, neurology, sleep, rehabilitative medicine, wellness and family support. EHVP is part of the Emory Brain Health Center.

“Veterans are strong and resilient members of our society, but even the strongest need support. We are incredibly grateful to celebrate the five-year anniversary of our program and continue our work to help even more veterans across the country heal and move forward,” says EHVP executive director Barbara O. Rothbaum, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine.

A major component of EHVP’s treatment efforts includes its two-week intensive outpatient program (IOP), offering customizable, results- and evidence-based treatment and wellness guidance for warriors to optimize their chances for success. Results show the program is highly effective and leads to large reductions in PTSD and depression symptoms, including suicidal thoughts and actions.  

During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, EHVP leaders pivoted to meet the needs of the warriors it serves by developing a remote IOP that delivers care in the comfort and privacy of the warrior’s home. The PSYPACT telemedicine expansion covers warriors participating in the IOP.  

“Our veterans and active service members struggling with invisible wounds have seen transformative improvements in their emotional health and well-being through treatment provided via our telemedicine services,” says Sheila Rauch, PhD, deputy director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and the Mark and Barbara Klein Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine.

“Joining PSYPACT is an incredible opportunity for us to reach even more of America’s warriors and reinforce our commitment to finding new and innovative ways to help them on their journey to recovery,” says Rauch. “We hope to expand telemedicine care even further to more states in the future. Access is key.”

Rauch, who also serves as director of research and program evaluation at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is working with colleagues to develop and test telemedicine and primary care treatment models for PTSD so that warriors can receive quality, evidence-based care without having to seek out a specialty mental health office.

Current telemedicine services offered through EHVP include: daily individual and group therapy, wellness coaching such as yoga and physical fitness training, family services to enhance relationships, care management to connect warriors to local resources, medication education, and the opportunity to connect with other warriors.

For more information or if you are a post-9/11 warrior struggling with invisible wounds, call 888-514-5345 to speak with a veteran care coordinator.

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