Telehealth Services Help Save Rural West Virginia Teen

Monday, December 07, 2015

Lexus Kline was in a very dark place. The 15-year-old from rural West Virginia coal country had lost her best friend in a house explosion, and her relationship with her boyfriend had ended badly.

The Klines live in an area where mental health services are few. But as a benefit to their employees, the coal company for which her dad mines has a relationship with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to provide telehealth services for employees and their families with mental health concerns. 

An on-site medical trailer at Tunnel Ridge mine serves as a clinic for employees. There, Lexus is able to meet with a mental health therapist at Cincinnati Children’s -- nearly 250 miles away. 

Tunnel Ridge is owned by Alliance Resource Partners and is one of nearly a dozen Alliance mines that provide health clinics for employees, their spouses and dependents. They can visit the clinics, which are managed by Dr. Raymond Wells, for a wide range of medical services that are provided without cost, including telehealth services. If an employee were to visit with a rash, for example, telehealth technology could allow Dr. Wells at Alliance operations headquarters in Lexington, KY, to make an accurate diagnosis and help determine the best treatment.

unnel Ridge Health Center.The clinic provides prompt and cost-effective care for employees, their spouses and dependents. When families come to a clinic for mental health services, as Lexus’ family did at the Tunnel Ridge Health Center, they are often referred for telehealth consultations with mental health therapists at Cincinnati Children’s.

Lexus’ nurse practitioner, Hermiety Van Laar, referred her to Michael Sorter, MD, director of psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s. Dr. Sorter then put Lexus in touch with Sarah Hebbeler, a therapist Lexus immediately responded to.

“To see her coming back, showing interest in sports again, showing interest in school again, it’s like seeing her born all over again,” says Misty Kline, Lexus’ mom. “She’s my old Lexus, she’s coming back, and it’s been great.”

Photo above: On-site medical trailer at Tunnel Ridge mine serves as a clinic for employees.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties, including a #1 ranking in pulmonology and #2 in cancer and in nephrology. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer