New Funding for Telepsychiatry Services in Manitoba

The Manitoba Government has provided new funding for psychiatric telehealth services, involving psychiatrists from Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Mental Health Program and the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre (MATC).  The goals of the pilot project are: to reduce unnecessary transportation between rural and northern parts of the province with the city of Winnipeg during the COVID-19 pandemic; to reduce unnecessary and expensive transportation costs; to remove a barrier to accessing timely child and adolescent psychiatry consultation.

To this end, a new process has been put in place to triage calls to the HSC Children’s Emergency Department regarding requests for urgent and emergent psychiatric consultation.  The on-call child and adolescent psychiatrist assesses whether the patient is eligible for a telehealth consultation, and if he or she meets the criteria, a telehealth appointment can be arranged within 24 hours. 

Supporting this service is the recently expanded MATC Rural & Northern Telehealth Service, which received a large funding infusion as a result of Jordan’s Principle.

An evaluation component is in place so that the project can be reviewed when the pilot expires on March 31, 2021.