MVP Health Care adds psychiatry services to online health offerings

MVP Health Care has added psychiatry visits to myVisitNow, a telemedicine service offering online health care visits to MVP members through a mobile device or computer and web cam anytime, anywhere in the U.S. The ability to access a psychiatrist through MVP’s telemedicine benefit extends services beyond those already offered by physicians, behavioral health therapists, nutritionists, lactation consultants, and other health providers since the health insurer launched myVisitNow on Jan. 1, 2017.

“We believe offering additional psychiatry services in this manner will help expand member access to behavioral health treatment,” said Judith Feld, M.D., MVP’s vice president of behavioral health. “Many members are not able to seek treatment otherwise, as a result of the limited availability of in-person appointments, transportation issues, or a reluctance to seek help in an office setting due to a perceived stigma that has been attached to seeking this kind of health care. We know behavioral health care can improve an individual’s overall health and quality of life and reduce the need for emergency room visits, urgent care visits or hospital admissions.”

The online psychiatric visit includes an initial evaluation of the member to determine a diagnosis and often results in recommendations for care that may also include a referral to a therapist. This service might also result in the member being given a prescription when needed but does not include prescribing controlled substances.

“This initial evaluation can support a patient’s primary care provider in developing a treatment plan that addresses both the member’s medical and behavioral health care needs,” said Feld.

“MVP is committed to improving the overall health of our communities and ensuring that our members have access to the best possible health care in the most appropriate setting for them is an important part of our approach,” said MVP President and CEO Denise Gonick. “If talking to a psychiatrist from home enables members to get the help they need, that’s what we want to enable them to do. We’re providing value that can’t be measured in dollars.”

In addition to psychiatry services, members can connect with behavioral health therapists through myVisitNow. Behavioral health therapy promotes well-being by preventing or intervening in mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, and by providing support for individuals with a range of addictions, for example. Clinical psychologists and social workers listen, offer coaching, and help direct patients to the care they need.