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HJF Administering Study Seeking To Expand Specialized Care Across The Military Health System

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc.  recently signed an agreement to administer a study investigating ways to use telehealth to increase access to specialized care for military dependents. The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) will lead this first phase of a larger research effort led by Kennedy Krieger Institute. CDP is administered by HJF through a cooperative agreement with USU. Kennedy Krieger will use initial findings to implement a program to help families of military children with behavioral health or other special needs more easily obtain access to specialized care.

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Currently, service members who have children with special needs are restricted with respect to where they can be based when their child is enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). They must be based near a medical team who can provide optimum care for their dependent. This initiative seeks to use telehealth to greatly increase the behavioral health teams that can provide specialized care, thus supporting a greater number of duty locations for these service members.

With advancements in virtual engagements, families should be able to receive appropriate specialty care in far greater locations. This pilot program will demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of establishing telehealth services across a geographically dispersed healthcare network.

“One of the mandates of military medicine is caring for the families of our nation’s warfighters,” said HJF President and CEO Dr. Joseph Caravalho. “HJF is proud to support this effort by Kennedy Krieger to increase access to specialized care for the families of service members.”

The first phase of this program, led by CDP, will investigate how telehealth can be used to train pediatricians to adequately manage the unique requirements of children with special needs. For 15 years, CDP has been training both military and civilian health professionals to provide high-quality behavioral health services to military personnel and their families. To date, the CDP has trained over 75,000 professionals worldwide through more than 100 programs annually. This new program takes advantage of CDP’s years of experience and extends training to pediatric providers.

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In subsequent phases of this program, Kennedy Krieger will work with HJF to establish relationships with pediatric providers in and near three Military Treatment Facilities to launch Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) programs. ECHO videoconferencing sessions include discussion of de-identified patient cases presented by the participating providers and offer consultation provided by the specialist team. Under this model, the participating provider retains responsibility for managing the patient and is equipped with a team of experts to support care and provide education on evidence-based practice. The team of specialists will include faculty and staff of Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the USU Center for Deployment Psychology.

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Through the application of this model, Kennedy Krieger and CDP hope to increase access to specialized care for military children throughout the military health system.

This project is sponsored by USU; however, the information or content and conclusions do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred on the part of, USU, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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