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Video Conferencing to Help Drug & Alcohol Patients


August 15, 2017

According to TheRecordHerald.com, Franklin County drug and alcohol officials in Pennsylvania are hoping to bring virtual case management to Waynesboro Hospital. This would be the first program of its kind in Pennsylvania but, if successful, could potentially revolutionize the way patients receive care.

Chambersburg Hospital has a full-time case worker who works with drug and alcohol patients that are being discharged from the hospital. The worker’s job is to assess them and provide assistance when it comes to leaving the hospital setting. From the hospital, case workers bring patients to ongoing treatment and support services.  It’s easy to stay clean when within the walls of a hospital, but going back out into the world can often be jarring, causing patients to go back to the drug problems that sent them to the hospital in the first place. For this reason, case workers are essential in the transitioning process.

Unfortunately, Waynesboro Hospital does not have the resources to employ a full-time case worker. “With Waynesboro, we don’t have the resources to put someone on site,” stated April Brown, administrator of the county program. “Despite the mandate, we haven’t received additional funds to do so.”

At the moment, if someone at Waynesboro needs case management to help them transition out of the hospital, a drug and alcohol case worker is sent to the hospital to help them. According to Brown, this is a waste of time because, by the time they get there, the patients have already left.

For this reason, Brown has pitched the idea of implementing video conferencing into the process. Video conferencing can be used by case workers to perform remote assessments on patients. Additionally, whenever a patient has a question or concern, they can reach out via video conferencing, without having to wait for a case worker to come visit in person.

Although her proposition is still being considered, several people of note are rallying around the idea. “Several years ago, psychiatric services started to be delivered the same way. The response has been fantastic,” said Commissioner Bob Thomas. “I see no reason why this wouldn’t work. Right now, they are getting nothing. This maximizes the resources we have.”

We’ll have to wait and see if Brown’s proposal goes through but, if it does, Waynesboro will be the latest in a long line of organizations to benefit from video conferencing.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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