Quality medical care for people with developmental disabilities is essential to day-to-day life. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) is committed to working with partners to improve health care access and outcomes for Ohioans with developmental disabilities. DODD is currently running a pilot program for up to 5,000 people to utilize StationMD services. Providers and county boards are currently enrolling people into services. As of March 15, 2022, there are over 1,240 people currently enrolled.
StationMD is a specialized telemedicine physician service dedicated to people with developmental disabilities, offers medical care readily available to these vulnerable populations. The telehealth service currently provides services to over 32,000 individuals across 14 states. From 24/7 urgent care to primary care and behavioral health, StationMD fills a need in health care and limits unnecessary trips to the emergency room.
Blanchard Valley Center Director of Service and Support Administration Nicole Bowen, and Lifeworks Autism Services Director of Intake and Healthcare, Allison Begovic, have both seen the benefits of participants in the pilot project. Bowen provides services in Hancock County and Begovic provides services in the Shaker Heights area in Cuyahoga County, both areas of need.
“StationMD ties into the mission that the department (DODD) and county boards have with Technology First,” said Bowen. “It gets people more comfortable with not needing an in-person contact and empowers people to be more independent. It is just another piece to the puzzle.”
The ability to include parents, guardians, or core team members to help facilitate a remote appointment is an important part of creating a comfortable and supportive environment. An easy process has led to a large number of people signing up and having the services available within three to five days in most cases.
Participants have also praised the convenience of StationMD’s platform. “We have accessed StationMD three times since the project began,” said Begovic. “The availability of a physician, obtaining the appropriate documentation, and follow-up has been positive.”
Telemedicine gives a person with developmental disabilities the ability to remain in their home instead of waiting for long periods in a waiting room. With a push of a button, a person is in contact with a physician who is trained in working with people with developmental disabilities. This virtual face-to-face opportunity provides a sense of relief and a resource to get professional answers fast.
“This also helps providers in group homes who are experiencing the staffing crisis,” said Bowen. “Instead of sending additional staff and losing needed coverage at home, we can keep everyone in one place.”
As more people with DD sign up for the pilot, StationMD will have enough feedback to adjust and improve the experience for every person. For more information on StationMD, visit the program’s website or contact DODD Policy Specialist Ginnie Whisman at Ginnie.Whisman@dodd.ohio.gov.