The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5187.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 3:30 PM

Abstract #37530

Pilot study of telepsychiatry in a rural jail

Luisa B Manfredi, JD, MPH and Steven L. Batki, MD. Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams, Syracuse, NY 13210, 315-464-3136,

Method: This pilot feasibility study implemented telepsychiatric consultation in a rural jail. Live interactive 2-way audio-video communication was the modality utilized in this project. A psychiatrist from a regional medical school provided predetermined “telepsychiatry clinic” hours for inmates judged to be in need of mental health intervention. The psychiatrist provided mental health services from the medical school department of psychiatry to a secure room located in the jail. Services included assessment, diagnosis, medication management, and follow-up. The project attempted to provide a cost-effective and timelier modality of care to areas determined to be in need of psychiatrist time. Consultation time was determined to suit the needs of jail staff, as security was a concern. Medication dosing was arranged with the jail nursing staff. Results: Over the five-month life of this project, 17 patients were seen. A total of 37 telepsychiatric contacts were made. Most of the patients were young white males with complaints that were referable to mood, anxiety, insomnia, or substance use disorders. Conclusions: Telepsychiatric contacts were well accepted by patients and appeared to be a feasible way to deliver mental health services to rural jail inmates. The use of telemedicine to provide care needs to be studied further in order to assess its costs and benefits in serving jails in rural areas.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learning Objectives

    Keywords: Correctional Facility, Mental Health Services

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Mental Health Treatment and the Criminal Justice System

    The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA