From there to here........
It was my 37th birthday, April 11, 2014, my then two-year-old son, Miles, contracted a Mico-Bacterial Infection, also known as Atypical Tuberculosis, the infection had overwhelmed a lymph node in his neck that required surgery. A couple days before his second birthday, Miles was discharged with a sizable, but temporary, hole in his neck. The next day I called my employer and resigned. This was how I came to be a stay at home mom.
Up until this point I had always worked outside of the home. I had an older son, Jack, eleven years before I had Miles and I often felt torn between my passion for the field of social work and behavioral health and my time at home with my family. I carried a lot of guilt for the lack of time I had with my sons and for my sons. I struggled with the destructive dichotomy between doing the two things I was called to do, my career and my children.
Heading home from surgery
After a few weeks of being home with Miles, I was offered a telebehavioral health position, it was amazing; however, the position was capped at ten clinical hours a week and it wasn't enough income to make ends meet. I enjoyed the time I had with Miles over that summer. We built marble tracks, and made fake snow and puffy paint, he gardened with me, and I built him a sand box. We skated to the park and back almost every day, it was wonderful, but not sustainable. This was in 2014 and at that time opportunities in telebehavioral health were extremely limited in my field.
In the Spring of 2015, I joined a semi-private practice and the chaos between work and home returned. Many of my patients were not able to meet during the day, so I would work into the night two or three nights a week , it felt like the only time I had with the kids was in the car.
It was at this time that I started really paying attention to state and national polices on telehealth and the growing provider shortage. Most of the United Stated is a Federally Designated Mental Health Provider Shortage Area (MHPSA). One-hundred and eleven million people in the US live in a MHPSA. The growing shortage was creating a greater demand for telebehavioral health services and laws were rapidly changing, favoring telehealth expansion.
Over the next year I continued to researched telehealth policy, ethics and service delivery as well as State and Federal Laws. I was constantly questioned by other professionals about the law and ethics of telebehavioral health, but the more I researched the more evidence I found supporting
telebehavioral health as an effective, legal, ethical way to provide treatment. I adopted a nationally supported Direct to Patient Care service delivery model and started working on my business plan. I wanted to create a business that would not only reduce barriers and increase access to services, but that would also provide opportunities for better pay and a more flexible schedule for a female dominated workforce that is way too often overworked and underpaid. By cutting out the overhead expense of having an office we are able to offer above average reimbursement to our contracted clinicians.
Miles and I
Click on the map to learn more about the Mental Health Provider Shortage areas
In March of 2016 Michigan Legislation passed allowing social workers to provide outpatient therapy using HIPAA compliant video platforms. The only question remaining was would insurance companies reimburse a multi-state model. Turns out, they do. In September of 2016, Telebehavioral Health.US opened our virtual doors. We were the first provider in the State of Michigan to provide all of our services online and one of the first providers in the United States to offer services exclusively online and across state lines. We now operate in Four states, Michigan, California, Colorado and Florida and are a Veterans Community Care Provider. In the Spring of 2020 we will be adding Services in Alaska. We are a Certified Woman Owned Small Business and registered with the System for Award Management as Federal Contractor with the United States Government. We are growing every day to further our mission of providing affordable, accessible, and evidence based behavioral health treatment to individuals throughout the United States.
Susie Morozowich, LMSW, LCSW