American Samoa

American Samoa joins the Pacific Telemedicine Network

Pacific Telemedicine Newsletter #1

Welcome to the first issue of the Pacific Telemedicine Network American Samoa Newsletter.

January 2019 begins a 3-year Telemedicine and Education Program funded through a USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program grant. The grant brings a full suite of diagnostic equipment for the LBJ Tropical Medical Center and 9 Community Clinic sites. Working with the American Samoa Department of Health and the LBJ Tropical Medical Center, the project will establish video consultations and health information exchange with Specialists in California as well as an Opioid Use Disorder treatment and education program.

The Pacific Telemedicine Network Newsletter will follow the progress of the new program and provide a place for you to ask questions and make suggestions. Dr. Chris Landon, ( ) Director of the Landon Pediatric Foundation, based in Ventura, California, is the Medical Director for the Program. Timothy Tyndall, ( ) Director of RAIN Live Oak Technology, is the Network and Education Director for the Program.

During the coming year we will report on some of the most important issues for successful Telemedicine. Issue #2 will look at the use of Health Information Exchange for telemedicine and at the project Education Program. The grant brings Education resources developed by RAIN Live Oak Technology to provide essential telemedicine technology skills training for Nurses, Physician Assistants, Medics and Care Providers. One goal of the project is to establish an ongoing learning resource for American Samoa that builds health care job skills for the future.

Future issues of this Newsletter will cover subjects such as Telemedicine Reimbursement, updates on telemedicine and mobile health technologies now available in American Samoa and news on the continuing progress in the use of telemedicine for Opioid Use Disorder treatment and education.

If you would like to take part in the project Advisory Committee send an email to .

Do you know a school or library that should also take part in the telemedicine project? Send an email with your suggestion to and we will contact them.

Are there Clinical issues you would like to see the project provide resources for? Send an email with your suggestion to .

To sign up for the Telemedicine Technology Skills Course send email to with your name and email and we will contact you regarding class requirements.

LBJ Tropical Medical Center

Telemedicine News and Research Update #1

Behavioral Health and Clinical Care Integration

The new telemedicine grant for American Samoa has a strong focus on use of telemedicine to help with opioid use disorder treatment. We will report on the integration of Behavioral Health and Clinical care and provide updates on programs and best practices throughout the year.

The following is an Introduction to a recently published study “Integrating Clinical and Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities” completed by the Bipartisan Policy Center. You can read the full study at – Integrating
Clinical-and-Mental-Health-Challenges-and- Opportunities.pdf or email me and I will send you a copy.

“Nearly 45 million American adults suffered from some form of mental illness in 2016. Although there is little change in the estimates of those with mental illness over the last few years, rates of death due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide are increasing. In 2016, about 45,000 Americans age 10 and over died by suicide.1 Twenty-five states experienced at least a 30
percent increase in suicide rates between 2014 and 2016.2

The national opioid crisis has resulted in significant attention to federal policy associated with substance use disorder (SUD). Mental illness along with SUD comprise a broad category of illness commonly referred to as “behavioral health.” In 2016, 44.7 million American adults experienced a mental illness, 20.1 million experienced a SUD, and 8.2 million experienced both— and these numbers are likely underestimated due to lack of identification and issues of stigma. Collectively, more than 1 million people have died from drugs, alcohol, and suicide over the past decade. If these trends continue, the death rate could grow to claim 2 million more lives by 2025.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the barriers to the integration of clinical health care and mental health services, and to identify policy options for consideration in advancing integration of services. In 2018, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a series of public and private discussions on this topic. As part of this research, BPC consulted patient
advocates; clinical and behavioral health care providers; federal, state, and county agency officials and staff; insurers; academics; and other experts. The goal was to identify barriers to integration caused by federal policy, to identify policy options to mitigate or remove those barriers, and, through policy changes, to advance evidence-based treatment for mental health in the United States.”

Issue 1 – January 28, 2019

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