The Clinician Leader’s Role in Developing a Telepsychiatry Program

Module Description

Access to and integration of behavioral health services is critically important in management of our patients, yet many healthcare systems lack ready access to behavioral health services, especially within safety-net settings.  Telepsychiatry is emerging as a practical, consumer-friendly solution for addressing gaps in behavioral health services.  This module provides an overview of telepsychiatry services and guides clinicians in the “nuts and bolts” of planning, implementing, and getting paid for telepsychiatric services.

Intended Audience

This course is designed for physicians as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and allied health professionals who are working toward population health management, especially in safety-net settings.

Duration and Fee

Estimated Time to Complete: 1 hour

Registration Fee: $20

CME Credits

This Enduring Material activity, Population Health in the Safety Net, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 12.00 Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. AAFP certification begins 10/01/2018. Term of approval is for one year from this date. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Marc Avery, MD, is a principal at Health Management Associates and clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington. He is a national leader in the development of person-centered, integrated psychiatric care for high needs and safety-net patients. From 2012 to 2018, Dr. Avery developed and directed the Psychiatric Consultation and Telepsychiatry (PCAT) Program at the University of Washington, with a focus on several innovative technology-based psychiatric services including integrated care and tele-psychiatry. His work included service on the UW Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Committee, which oversees the large network of inpatient and outpatient services at the University. Prior to joining the University of Washington, Dr. Avery was chief medical officer for over 15 years at a large community mental health center in the Seattle area. He has provided leadership and administrative oversight on a number of large-scale programs, including Washington State’s Mental Health Integration program (MHIP – serving over 50,000 patients since its inception in 2008), the University of Washington’s Behavioral Health Integration Program (now serving 18 primary care clinics in King County), the California Coordinated Care Collaborative (serving 13 counties in California), and the Behavioral Health Integrated Complex Care Collaborative (serving 15 medical service organizations in 2 large counties in Southern California).

Marc Avery, MD discloses that he is an employee of Health Management Associates, a national research and consulting firm providing technical assistance to a diverse group of healthcare clients.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of the course, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the core principles for a clinician leader in developing a new telepsychiatry program
  • Analyze how a telehealth program may be advantageous in particular clinical settings
  • Describe essential considerations when setting up a telepsychiatry program; including relevant rules and laws, patient consent, use of electronic medical records, and creating smooth workflows
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