Two health providers in rural North Carolina—Vaya Health and Partners Behavioral Health Management—came up with a plan to keep patients connected to their mental health services when the pandemic hit. They identified 1,000 patients who did not have access to a computer or for phone for telehealth appointments and gave them a free smartphone with a data plan. Verizon provided the phones for free and the providers paid for the data plans. By investing in connecting these patients to mental health services they hope to reduce future hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Further, the phones have also provided a way for patients to maintain social relationships, which is also important for mental health. #covid-19 #rural #mentalhealth
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