March 25, 2020-- Toms River Regional Schools has taken another step to modify its practices in support of its staff and school community as COVID-19 continues to disrupt traditional models.

The district is working closely with Integrity Health, its health plan manager, to develop at-home tele-medicine opportunities for connection with network and non-network specialists.

“Changes to lifestyle due to current public health measures may trigger stress symptoms or worsen already existing anxiety or depression,” read a statement sent to all staff by the TRRS Insurance Services Department. “Video counseling gives you the option of utilizing counseling services from a remote and convenient location.”

Video consult capabilities for behavioral health and member advocacy services are already in place at Partnership Health Center, and options for tele-medicine with PHC medical providers are also in the works.

“Supporting those who serve and support our students is critical to our mission,” said Superintendent David Healy. “We will continue to adjust to this new normal in ways that benefit our employees, students, and families.”

“Presently there is a clear need for these types of diagnostic and referrals services because of the national COVID-19 emergency closures,” said Integrity Health CEO Doug Forrester. “Physical access to physicians is curtailed and many people don’t want personal contact even if their physician is willing to arrange an office visit. This is particularly the case for counselors which are in high demand at this time because of the emotional trauma of current events.”

Expanding coverage to include tele-health services further supports the self-insured Integrity Health model on which the district’s more than 2,200 employees rely. Partnership Health Center remains open normal hours to serve members’ needs.