Talkiatry expands child, adolescent psychiatry services to 5 new states

Talkiatry, a national telepsychiatry provider, has expanded its child and adolescent psychiatry services to five new states.

The provider's offerings are now live in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Alabama and Louisiana in addition to 26 other states, bringing its total pediatric reach to 31 states and 58 million minors across the country, Talkiatry told Fierce Healthcare prior to the official announcement.

The country is in the throes of a youth mental health crisis, recognized by the Biden administration, with rates rising for anxiety, depression and suicidality. Timely intervention is critical for preventing worse downstream health outcomes. Yet there is a severe national shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. 

“As the first generations to grow up with social media, issues like body dissatisfaction, social comparison, low self-esteem and disordered eating behaviors are skyrocketing,” Ilisse Perlmutter, M.D., director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Talkiatry, said in a press release shared with Fierce Healthcare. “We have a responsibility to the generations that follow us to provide the care, support and treatment they need.”

Talkiatry’s team has more than 300 full-time licensed psychiatrists and is actively seeing adults in 43 states, though it is licensed to practice adult psychiatry in all 50. The company said it has found success by entering a new market broadly focused on adults and then moving into specialties like child and adolescent psychiatry. It’s estimated that 65% of non-metro counties don’t have psychiatrists at all. 

To help with continuity of care, Talkiatry aims to get doctors licensed in multiple states where possible, like in the tristate area or in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. It can also move around providers as needed, work largely supported by payer partners that identify where the services are needed.

"There are a lot of doctors who live in big population centers,” Robert Krayn, co-founder and CEO, told Fierce Healthcare. “But what about all the other areas? Telemedicine allows us to take a doctor who might be in a physical location and allow them to see a patient someplace else.”

At the same time, 70% of U.S. counties have no child psychiatrists. More than half of kids with a treatable mental health disorder don’t get treatment from a mental health professional. For this population, initial Talkiatry appointments are 75 minutes long, with follow-ups ranging from half an hour to 45 minutes. Parents are involved in their children’s care plan through a customized intake process that includes parental or legal guardian consent and communication options like three-way calling.

Care can also be coordinated between psychiatrists, legal guardians and schools. Families using Talkiatry are covered by more than 60 in-network providers, with most visits costing $30 or less after insurance. 

Telemedicine also offers a glimpse of a child’s home environment. “You get a window into the world that you have to only ask them about if you’re seeing them in person,” Krayn said. Talkiatry can, however, facilitate referrals for in-person care when needed.

Many kids are comfortable interacting with people via technology, particularly those who grew up during the pandemic, Krayn said. And telemedicine limits the need for parents to take time off work to take kids to an in-person appointment, especially for mental healthcare, where the frequency of visits is a lot more than in primary care or other specialties. 

Talkiatry prioritizes provider education, bringing in experts to talk about the changing medical landscape in child and adolescent psychiatry, Krayn said. As of July, it is offering continuing education credits to its practitioners, approved by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.