Program Representative Interviewed: Bonnie Thompson, Project Director
Location: The Dalles, Oregon
Program Overview: The Direct to Patient Tele-Behavioral Health Services program is seeking
to increase access to behavioral healthcare for Medicaid patients in 14 rural and frontier counties in
eastern Oregon. The program allows patients to install a telehealth platform on their smartphones,
tablets, or computers. Patients use the platform to communicate with behavioral health clinicians via video
conference or text from any location. Services available to patients include counseling, discharge planning,
medication management, and supported employment check-ins, among others. Office staff can also send forms
through the application to collect information from patients. The program was designed in part to overcome
major transportation barriers that prevent residents of rural and frontier communities in Oregon from
traveling to medical facilities, especially in the event of adverse weather conditions. The ability to
communicate with providers via text instead of video also helps improve access to telehealth for patients
without broadband internet services.
This project was supported by grant number G01RH32153 from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Health
Resources and Services Administration, DHHS.