By Jami Eads, LCPC, Mental Health Services Manager, DOC Clinical Services, Montana State Prison
Project ECHO is a collaborative effort between the Billings Clinic and the Montana Department of Corrections (MDOC). The project aims to provide both agencies with valuable case consultation and educational opportunities through the use of video conferencing technology. In each weekly Project ECHO session, service providers have the opportunity to receive curriculum-based instruction for the first 30 minutes and then participate in case consultations in the following 60 minutes. In each case consultation, identifying data is removed from patient care summaries and the team works together to develop specific recommendations for the next steps in the individual’s care.
“It is my sincere belief that Project ECHO and similar efforts will lead to improved patient care for offenders, reduced negative outcomes when offenders leave prison, and increased teamwork between correctional professionals and community healthcare providers.”
As a participant in the first four Project ECHO sessions, I have found the presentations to be applicable to my day-to-day work. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from my colleagues and experts in the field. Montana is a great place to live and work but, for healthcare providers, the lack of access to peer collaboration can feel isolating. This project unites stakeholders in the areas of addictions treatment and mental health, while providing valuable support and collaboration for these essential disciplines. It is my sincere belief that Project ECHO and similar efforts will lead to improved patient care for offenders, reduced negative outcomes when offenders leave prison, and increased teamwork between correctional professionals and community healthcare providers.
Project ECHO is proving to be a useful and innovative approach to assessment and treatment of mental health and addictive disorders in Montana.
For more information, contact the DOC Clinical Services Division.