MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Array Behavioral Care, the nation’s largest telepsychiatry service and a thought leader in modern behavioral care, today announced that Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Boyce will be on Capitol Hill this week to advocate for Senate Bill 340, the TREATS Act, and the expansion of telemedicine to address the limited number of child psychiatrists with the increasing number of children in need. Boyce is a recognized leader and advocate on mental health issues of critical importance including how care is accessed, measured, designed, and delivered.
Boyce’s appearance on Capitol Hill and subsequent participation in an upcoming mental health conference are organized through the Center for Telehealth & e-Health Law (CTeL). On Thursday, December 2, Boyce will participate in a CTeL Digital Health Summit panel, “Mental Health Advocates Discuss Prescribing of Controlled Substances Post PHE.” In addition, he will attend and speak within CTeL virtual events in December to continue education and dialogue with Congress and regulators about telebehavioral health’s efficacy for psychiatry and substance use disorder treatment.
“Our country is facing a mental health pandemic that has impacted all populations, but perhaps most acutely our youth, and we applaud the TREATS Act and other measures designed to improve access and address this growing challenge,” said Boyce. “The TREATS Act has the power to do more for mental health and substance use than any other piece of legislation than we have seen in the past decade. The proposed bill is extremely timely and a significant step forward for telebehavioral health, which has proven to be a lifeline for so many patients too often left behind by our current healthcare system.”
The TREATS Act, introduced in February 2021, proposes to permit the prescribing of certain controlled substances via telemedicine for mental health services. As proposed, the TREATS Act would enhance critical telepsychiatry solutions, like Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and adult psychiatry and their use of schedule III and IV prescriptions, which have been unnecessarily restrained since 2008. As one of the earliest adopters of telepsychiatry more than 20 years ago, Array is a proponent of the TREATS Act and legislation that expands access to telepsychiatry in homes, hospitals, and primary care offices for patients and clinicians. Telebehavioral care—when direct clinician-to-patient care is delivered online—increases patient access and clinical support for healthcare professionals through technology.
In addition, the TREATS Act (with minor revisions) has the power to address the growing pediatric mental health crisis and the extreme shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health. With schools and after-school activities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, pediatric experts point to an alarming rise in the past year in emergency department visits for mental health crises, self-injury, and suicide attempts among children ages 5 to 17.
Despite the heightened need for mental health care, the number of psychiatrists and therapists to care for the mental health needs of children has not kept pace. Research shows there is on average only 9.75 child psychiatrists per 100,000 children under age 19; and, 70% of U.S. counties have no child psychiatrists. The AACAP estimates more than four times as many psychiatrists are needed to keep up with mental health needs among children, and yet, clinicians’ use of telemedicine for children is restricted because of the Ryan Haight Act, which prohibits the prescribing of first-line agents like stimulants to children via video without a prior in-person visit.
Boyce is a dedicated leader in telemedicine advocacy, education, and reform initiatives. He serves as a national voice promoting telemedicine and telepsychiatry and regularly interacts with state and local healthcare regulators and administrators. He is a recipient of the American Telemedicine Association’s Industry Leader Award, an active participant in several ATA Special Interest Groups and Workgroups and serves on the advisory board for the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC) and the New Jersey Telehealth Review Commission. Boyce has worked tirelessly to advocate for laws at the state and federal level that create wider access to healthcare for anyone, anywhere, and ensure clinicians are fairly compensated for administering care online.
Array Behavioral Care is the leading and largest telepsychiatry service provider in the country with a mission to transform access to quality, timely behavioral healthcare. Array is also the exclusive national telebehavioral partner to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Behavioral Health. Array offers telepsychiatry solutions and services across the continuum of care, from hospital to home, through its OnDemand, Scheduled, and AtHome divisions. For more than 20 years, Array has partnered with hundreds of hospitals and health systems, community healthcare organizations, and payers of all sizes to expand access to care and improve outcomes for underserved individuals, facilities, and communities. As an industry pioneer and established thought leader, Array has helped shape the field, define the standard of care, and advocate for improved telepsychiatry-friendly regulations. To learn more, visit www.arraybc.com.