Guam Guard offers telemedicine to soldiers - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam Guard offers telemedicine to soldiers

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - Guam National Guard soldiers will soon be able to take advantage of a new service called telemedicine.

It's called Tele-Behavior Health and on June 1st the Guam National Guard will begin offering this service to it's soldiers who have returned from deployment. The service will provide soldiers with the necessary treatment at home with the support of family and friends. According to the director of psychological health Rosemarie Camacho this service plays a vital role in making the soldier whole again.

"Is just to streamline services to get our National Guard members direct access to our closest Army Military Treatment Facility, which is Tripler Army Medical Center," she said.

Under the larger umbrella of tele-health services traumatic brain injury, critical care, nutrition, pharmacy and diabetic services are available to soldiers...in addition to the a wide range of services under behavioral health. "Adult services evaluation and treatment child and adolescent services tele-heathly lifestyle so weight loss program and also smoking cessation and that just under behavioral health," she said.

With all the services available how does the program work? Camacho said, "The way this works is there is a tele-presenter so there is a go between who serves as a liaison so we are going to get some tele-presenters trained here at the Guard so they set up the appointments get all the registration forms they dial into the provider the psychologists at Tripler they troubleshoot any technology problems and they have to know how to initiate any emergency procedures."

For example if it is a behavioral health session and the patient is having a panic attack the tele-presenter will have to have access to a mental health provider such as Camacho. The next step of the program will be to train tele-presenters and identify candidates for the program. Earlier today a demonstration was conducted testing the new telemedicine capability at Fort Juan Muna in Harmon. Governor Eddie Calvo recognized the importance of the service on island to improve the quality of health care to Guard soldiers. Governor Calvo engaged in conversation with Commanding General BG Dennis Doyle of Tripler Army Medical Center to discuss the benefits of the service.

"This has been a tried and tested service here at Tripler we provide tele-behavioral health services every day," she said.

Tripler Medical Center has wide range of providers that will be able to help augment the services on island. US public health service clinical psychologist Lieutenant Sherry Gracey said, "Some of the service members that are transitioning out of the WTB out at Schofield on island when they transition back home a lot of times having that additional service by the same provider they are able to not have a gap in treatment."

While allowing for a sense of anonymity making soldiers more comfortable to discuss their personal matters.

We should note in addition to this the service allows for training, psycho-education and offers care in the different time zones spanning across the Pacific.
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