The Utah Legislature passed HB139, Telepsychiatric Consultation Access Amendments this most recent legislative session. HB139 makes consultations via telepsychiatry a mandatory coverage by insurance companies. I see this as a success for mental health care in Utah.

From my experiences working with patients admitted to in-patient psychiatric units, I have seen a huge shortage of mental health providers. When calling to schedule follow-up appointments, we often will hear a provider is not taking any more clients or the next available appointment is three weeks out.

I have also seen situations where a patient’s in-patient stay could have been prevented had they been able to see a mental health professional immediately, but their efforts to accomplish this were thwarted due to the shortage of these professionals and long waiting lists.

I have hope that HB139 will help address this gap in patient care and help more Utahns get quicker and quality access to mental health services.

Amy Lambert, Salt Lake City