The Doctor is "Dialed" In

Greater New Haven community health agencies are staying connected with vulnerable clients and patients online and on the phone.

Community Health Moves Online

Unable to meet with clients face to face, Greater New Haven community health agencies are staying connected with vulnerable clients and patients online and on the phone. Many at-risk patients have been able to maintain regular appointments with their providers because of a rapid transition to telemedicine.

“We have been able to very quickly transition to telehealth and have staff working both on- site and remotely,” said Tony Corniello, Vice President, Adult Behavioral Health Services at BH Care. “We have been fortunate to be able to continue meeting the needs of our clients and the community with very little disruption."

There is concern, however, that many in recovery will struggle to remain safe and be unwilling or unable to receive services remotely. Some patients may be too ill or elderly to use the technology. Others may be living in unstable circumstances, without access to a phone or computer or unable to afford a phone or phone plan.

Bridges, the addiction and behavioral health services provider in Milford, has worked to overcome these challenges by proactively reaching out to clients to encourage them and help them work through any obstacles.

“We know that social isolation has impacted and will impact all of us, and that it may seem more challenging to access and receive mental health or substance abuse services," said Bridges CEO & President John Dixon. “Bridges is here, serving our communities as it has for the past 63 years. We now deliver the same services through the same programs that our communities have relied on through telehealth. And we will continue to do so until we can safely return to providing support in person.”

Bridges staff is also assisting clients with receiving basic needs: food, medicine and critical doctor visits like chemotherapy appointments. Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven has also supported its clients with grocery cards as they continue to engage with services.

For most local providers, the transition online has required significant upgrades to telephone and computer technology. Recent grants from the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund supported this transition for several of providers including BHCare, Fair Haven Health Care, Cornell Scott Hill Clinic, and Bridges.

Did You Know

The Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund was created to support the emergency needs in our community. Learn more.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.