AHRC NYC Telehealth Program Is Perfectly Timed

NEW YORK, May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — A timely telehealth grant is providing hundreds of vulnerable New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) with access to an emergency room doctor from an AHRC New York City group residence amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State‘s $13 million grant from the Statewide Healthcare Facility Transformation Program has provided telemedicine equipment that connects to StationMD through a wireless tablet mounted on a portable kiosk with two-way audio and video, a digital stethoscope, and a variety of other technologies. 

Opportune Time for Telehealth

“For people with I/DD, the timing of the telehealth system is beyond opportune,” said Marco Damiani, CEO of AHRC NYC, who worked closely with CP of NYS. “The stress, potential exposure to the virus, and the time spent in an ER is difficult on people with I/DD. The coronavirus has made this an even more valuable tool than anyone could have imagined.”

Telehealth kiosks are currently installed in over 1,000 residences across 50 agencies, including 17 CP of NYS Affiliates and 25 ARC Chapters.

“We sought out the grant to provide care more effectively and efficiently, but now we have the added benefit of reducing the risk to a virus that could wreak havoc in a group residence,” said Susan Constantino, President and CEO of CP of NYS.

An estimated 1 in 21 hospitalizations in New York State involve people with I/DD, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Telehealth in Action

Marcia Richman, a Registered Nurse and Residential Health Care Coordinator, and Home Care Director of Patient Services, said “I was a believer in Telehealth years ago but we were never able to get the right technology. I always knew this was the right thing. I’m a believer in helping the person where they’re at — in their own home with people who care about them.”

The COVID-19 crisis has put telehealth into immediate use in AHRC NYC residences. In the Bronx, StationMD helped resident Montgomery Carter, who had been exposed to the virus a week earlier.  “The doctor [with StationMD] looked at everything and determined he had a series of symptoms but nothing concrete to diagnose,” Nurse Noreen Keenan said.

When Montgomery began displaying more symptoms, including low oxygenation, he went to New York– Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville.  A chest X-ray was COVID-positive, but the hospital merely prescribed an antibiotic for him and sent him home due to capacity concerns. “It doesn’t feel good to take home someone with a COVID-positive x-ray,” Noreen said. “Under normal circumstances Montgomery would have been admitted.”

The staff monitored his vitals every four hours and continued to follow up with StationMD. “Montgomery really had the deck stacked against him,” Noreen said, “but with Telehealth, Montgomery was able to be seen in the comfort of his own home. In the past we’d run to urgent care or the emergency room.” Montgomery has made a full recovery thanks the staff members at his residence and the timely effectiveness of telemedicine.

CONTACT: Dylan Watton, dylan.watton@ahrcnyc.org

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