Appointment of MD psychiatrist ‘monumental’ for West Maui
LAHAINA – The recent appointment of an MD psychiatrist here “is monumental in improving access to care for our community” and fills a longstanding gap in healthcare in the region, said Dr. Kelly C. Harnick.
“There is a huge shortage of psychiatrists on Maui. To my knowledge, West Maui hasn’t had an MD psychiatrist practicing on the West Side in at least decades, if ever,” said Harnick, who welcomed Dr. Brian K. Teliho, MD, to the staff at the West Maui Counseling Center this month.
“There is a 41 percent shortage of psychiatrists for Maui County, and the national shortage is well-documented. Most patients on Maui have a very difficult time finding or getting in with a good psychiatrist in a timely manner, and mental illness symptoms cannot wait months to be treated.”
Dr. Teliho, a physician specializing in adult psychiatry, is certified by the Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
His role is to diagnose and treat mental illness, provide psychotherapy and offer consultation to the rest of the WMCC team. Dr. Teliho’s credentials allow him to prescribe psychiatric medications as needed, which was the gap in care now covered.
With the new doctor on board, WMCC plans to collaborate with all providers in Lahaina to help them meet their patients’ psychiatry needs.
“WMCC is happy to provide psychiatric care to anyone in the Maui community who sees an outside therapist. Dr. Teliho will consult with the therapist while he manages the medications of the patient, and the patient continues to work with their therapist,” Dr. Harnick said.
“We truly have a spirit of collaboration within the center, as well as outside the center, and are happy to partner with the mental health and medical community at-large. We are also looking forward to collaborating closely with our primary care physicians here in West Maui… I know they are very excited about having an MD and board-certified psychiatrist finally available for our West Maui community.”
Dr. Teliho is an expert in psychopharmacology, medication management for psychiatric disorders and psychotherapy. At WMCC, he will collaborate with the psychologists on patients’ care and treatment planning.
“We are providing a truly integrative approach to the treatment of mental health issues, where our psychiatrist and psychologists work together, particularly if the patient is on medication,” she explained.
“Our doctors, the one prescribing medication and the ones providing psychotherapy, actually talking to each other during our treatment team meetings provides for better patient care and outcomes. This is a unique practice here on Maui, because we consult and collaborate and work together for our patients. This was my vision when I created my solo practice in 2011 and then grew into the center we have today. I worked hard to find Dr. Teliho, and I am so glad – for all the people who need access to care – that I didn’t give up.”
Dr. Teliho has served on the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine and ran a successful private practice for 15 years before moving to Maui.
“As the practice founder and director, I am elated to have Dr. Teliho join our team. He is amazing, as is the rest of our team, including Dr. Andy Gold, and Dr. Serenity Chambers and myself. There is truly an atmosphere of comfort and professionalism at WMCC, and we are so privileged and happy to be able to serve the mental health needs of our community. West Maui finally has a psychiatrist, and in my opinion one of the best on Maui,” Dr. Harnick concluded.
For information, call the center at (808) 280-4192 or visit www.westmauicounseling.com.