The Block Island Times

Telemedicine program may expand to other venues

By Gloria S. Redlich | Nov 14, 2012

t the November 8 meeting of the Block Island Mental Health Task Force, chair Steve Hollaway introduced new case worker Tracy Fredericks to the group members. She had been selected from five applicants for the position, to facilitate the recently created telemedicine program developed by the task force (see related story).

Med Center interested

Hollaway indicated that medical staff at Block Island Health Services had expressed interest in the telemedicine program and were thinking of dedicating space at the medical center as well. He said, “They are open to having a computer and connection both for doctor consults (especially in emergencies) and client consults as an alternative for people who might prefer not to use the church facility.”

He said BIHS Interim Executive Director Peter Baute would get back to the task force when the medical staff had made a decision.

Task force members were unanimous in agreeing that the recent talk on depression and bipolar disorder by Dr. Michael Brownstein was well received, drawing an audience of more than 20. Brownstein, who has given three of the series of mental health talks this past summer, was instrumental in getting the telemedicine program underway with a $20,000 donation from a family foundation. Hollaway said Brownstein was also donating funds to cover additional expenses incurred with the hiring of the case worker.

Reporting on his conversations with administrators at the Block Island School, Hollaway noted that they were continuing to discuss whether or not to offer a program on the theme of bullying. Task force members suggested inviting a speaker, who could share her own personal experiences.

The group also decided it might be good to consult with representatives of Kaleidoscope Theater, a group that specializes in interactive programs for schools on bullying. To that end, Socha Cohen agreed to make the contact and see what she could learn.

Hollaway wanted to remind the public that persons interested in the telemedicine program should not be put off by an inability to pay; no one will be turned away. Fredericks can be reached at (207) 229-6349

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