Wolf Administration Applauds innovaTel for Making Remote Mental Health Support Accessible Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin highlighted the work of innovaTel Telepsychiatry, a Ben Franklin Technology Partner of Central and Northern PA (BFTP CNP) client and nationwide telepsychiatry company owned and operated by clinicians, for making critical, remote mental health services accessible for those in need.

Telepsychiatry is the delivery of psychiatric services via HIPAA-compliant, secure video conferencing technology and is equivalent to in-person care in psychiatric diagnoses, treatment effectiveness, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and is used in a variety of settings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented everyone with challenges and stresses that we could have never prepared for and innovaTel’s service is designed to help, no matter where you are,” said Sec. Davin. “As we continue to mitigate the spread of this virus, keeping both our physical and mental health as a top priority has never been more important, especially for our more vulnerable populations. innovaTel’s unique model can bring reliable care directly to the consumer in a way that is safe and cost effective.”

The founders of innovaTel have over 30 years of behavioral healthcare experience. Prior to starting innovaTel, they ran a community mental health center in Northwest Pennsylvania. One of the top challenges they faced was recruiting and retaining behavioral health providers. To address this issue, they began implementing telepsychiatry. They found it worked extremely well, which inspired their leaders to build a telepsychiatry company to help other organizations. innovaTel now provides telepsychiatry in partnership with community-based organizations in 20 states. Their clinical team consists of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and licensed clinical social workers that become integrated with the on-site providers of an organization to connect with patients virtually.

“We have been fortunate to have the support of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners from the very beginning. Over the past seven years there have been many lessons learned as our team managed in this new environment,” said innovaTel CEO and founder Jon Evans. “The guidance provided by the BFTP staff and the Mentor Team has been critical to our success. innovaTel’s mission is to enhance timely access to care in partnership with community-based clinics and BFTP has been instrumental to our fulfillment of that mission.”

Telepsychiatry is beneficial for clinics, clinicians, and patients. It helps clinics effectively meet patient demand, increasing access to care for patients while helping clinics grow, and helps clinicians by having the option to work from home, allowing for better work-life balance.

“innovaTel is a great example of the success of the Ben Franklin mission,” said BFTP CNP Regional Director/Portfolio Manager Brian Slawin. “By investing in strong founding teams who use technology to innovate and grow and supporting them with the critical guidance and resources they need, companies like innovaTel create opportunities for technology, business and medical professionals—all of whom earn significantly more than family-sustaining salaries and who look to Central and Northern Pennsylvania as the place to found and start their businesses.”

BFTP CNP has been providing startup funding and business support services to technology-based startups and small manufacturers for nearly 40 years and serves as a catalyst for economic growth by providing access to capital, business expertise, and a network of resources that fosters innovation, growth, and success. The group supports and executes the commonwealth’s technology agenda by building on regional strengths, capitalizing on new opportunities, and addressing the specific needs of diverse communities.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Casey Smith, DCED, casesmith@pa.gov

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