• Presentation focused on a virtual crisis care program that gives law enforcement on-demand access to behavioral health professionals to assess individuals involved in mental health crisis calls.
  • Innovative care delivery model has been proven to reduce involuntary committals, reducing the burden on hospital emergency departments and preserving justice system resources.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.June 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Leaders from Avel eCare, the nation’s leading provider of clinician-to-clinician telemedicine services, recently returned from Washington, D.C. where executives held an informational briefing session for Senate staff on an innovative telemedicine program called Virtual Crisis Care (VCC).

Avel eCare’s VCC program equips law enforcement with telemedicine tablets to connect officers on-demand with behavioral health professionals who can assess the situation and make informed recommendations for how to manage citizens having a mental health crisis.

“Whether operating in rural or urban areas, law enforcement agencies have the potential to use telemedicine technology as a cost-effective, highly impactful way to diffuse tense situations and conserve community resources. The program not only helps decriminalize behavioral health but also helps drive better outcomes for both individuals in crisis as well as law enforcement,” said Doug Duskin, chief executive officer at Avel eCare.

During the briefing, which was held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, Avel leaders reviewed the results of a recent study by the University of Iowa Rural Telemedicine Research Center that was published in JMIR Mental Health affirming the positive impact of the program. Evidence showed VCC helped avoid unnecessary involuntary committals – improving the outcomes for the individual in crisis while significantly reducing time and effort for law enforcement staff.

“Law enforcement agencies using the VCC program significantly reduced the number of arrests and involuntary committals. 80% of the individuals Avel eCare assisted were able to stay home and follow up with resources locally. Otherwise, they would have gone to jail or the emergency department, which is not only stressful for the individual but also burdensome on the healthcare and judicial systems as well,” says Brian Erickson, vice president and general manager of behavioral health at Avel eCare.

As of June 2023, Avel eCare is providing VCC services in 40 counties across South Dakota and parts of Nevada. Leaders at Avel eCare are looking to educate legislators on the value of the program in hopes of extending VCC into other states.

For more information on Avel eCare’s Virtual Crisis Care program, click here.

To download photos, click here.

For broadcast-standard stock footage, or to coordinate an interview with one of the law enforcement agencies utilizing VCC, please contact: Andrea LePain at [email protected] or 617-894-1153.

About Avel eCare
Avel eCare offers the largest and most comprehensive virtual health network in the world, partnering with more than 650 healthcare systems, hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, law enforcement agencies, schools, and EMS agencies across the country. For more information visit: www.avelecare.com