Our guest today is Charles Edwards, CEO and Founder of One Telemed, a telehealth service for mental health patients in underserved communities for a majority of the Medicaid Managed Care Organizations in Louisiana.
One Telemed uses innovative HIPAA video/audio technology to connect individuals in need of licensed professionals, reducing the wait time for a new patient needing to see a Psychiatrist from 90 days to 3-5 days. For more information, please visit https://www.onetelemed.com/about
A native of Lafayette, Charles has worked in the mental health field since his first job out of high school 28 years ago. His life journey has been defined by the call for service, a call he heard from God who reached out to him with a distinct voice.
During the interview, Charles shares the story of the persistent voice that has led him to step up and serve others. His own life was changed by a traumatic brain injury he suffered the weekend before he left for De Vries Institute. He was playing basketball with buddies, and says, “That moment changed my life forever….I went up for a dunk, me and a guy got tangled there, and I landed from eight feet up onto my head. I had a blood clot on my brain and my spine. I didn’t breathe for about 3 to 5 minutes.” He regained consciousness but his brain started swelling and he was throwing up. The doctors didn’t think he would make it due to the length of time without oxygen and the brain swelling. Charles recalls awakening from his coma in his hospital bed and hearing a voice calling him. “I hear my name, the same voice that called out to me before. I opened my eyes and saw a tunnel with a hand coming out. And I took it. I remember looking down at myself. Then I looked up and saw this ball of energy, this ball of light. It was God!” God asked him if he wanted to stay or go back and do His work. While Charles wanted to stay, God wanted him to go back and do the work he was meant to do. This near death experience introduced him to a higher force that has led him to serve others in love ever since.
Charles is a persistent fellow who keeps going no matter the challenge before him. He has experienced miraculous events and circumstances that continually remind him that his life has purpose, as long as he follows God’s calling.
Before Charles founded One Telemed, he worked in a series of jobs, including as Community Liaison and a Regional Director of Community Relations for one of the largest mental health providers in the state of Louisiana. It was through that experience that he learned firsthand that people in underserved communities did not have access to mental health care. He came to realize that utilizing the traditional method of delivering services would not be an effective way to resolve the need for the growing mental health crisis. So, he heeded his higher power’s call for him to serve.
In August 2013, Charles pioneered the movement for Telepsychiatry services and started Advance Telehealth, a telemedicine technology company. In September 2017, he started a provider company and founded One Telemed with a goal in mind to improve patient outcomes by making mental health treatment accessible to all, no matter their income or location in Louisiana.
One Telemed provides trauma and grief counseling over video conferencing technology, thus allowing individuals to talk with a licensed professional from anywhere in Louisiana in a private and safe environment for healing and growth. Other services offered include Brain Tap Therapy, Transition Care Management, and Clinical Oversight for Behavioral Health patients.
Charles Edwards, owner of One TeleMed, received the Small Business of the Year Award by Junior Achievement of Acadiana in 2021. “I’ve always had a heart for service.”
One Telemed now employs 27 and is actively hiring. Approximately 40,000 patients in Louisiana are being served and Charles is currently in negotiations with a national provider to expand One Telemed’s outreach to millions more across the U. S.
We thank Charles Edwards and One Telemed for the critical services they are offering our most vulnerable. His story is inspirational and we encourage you to share it with others who may benefit who are in need of mental health treatment.