Talkiatry, a leading provider of in-network psychiatric care and one of the largest employers of psychiatrists in the US, announced that Eric Triana had joined the team as the chief compliance officer. Triana will lead Talkiatry’s compliance efforts across federal- and state-level laws as the national psychiatry practice works to increase quality mental health care access across the country.
The US is in the middle of a mental health crisis. 122 million people, or 37% of the country, live in areas lacking enough mental health professionals to meet demand. Telepsychiatry practices have increased access to treatment for vulnerable populations with flexibility and convenience untethered from the location to address the issue. People living in mental health deserts or rural areas are just a few examples of those who have benefited from virtual mental health care.
But with increased access comes increased oversight. Virtual psychiatry is in constant regulatory flux, navigating a complex web of laws to protect patients and remain compliant. While the DEA has dominated recent headlines by extending the current rules regarding prescribing controlled substances via virtual appointments, this is just a sliver of the telepsychiatry legal landscape.
Federal and state-by-state licensing rules can complicate how care is delivered depending on where patients live. At the same time, ever-evolving technology means that remaining HIPAA-compliant and protecting patient privacy becomes a moving target.
Triana understands the importance of these rules on a personal and professional level. He has also seen the positive impact virtual mental health care can have on families, having watched members of his family benefit from increased access to psychiatric treatment.
In retiring from the DEA, he followed his passion for increasing access to quality mental health care to work with leading telepsychiatry provider Talkiatry.
“It’s more complicated than ever to parse telepsychiatry regulations, including licensing requirements, technology laws, patient access guidelines, and rules surrounding prescribing controlled substances. That’s why it’s important to have Eric on board leading our compliance efforts,” said Robert Krayn, CEO and co-founder of Talkiatry.
“His years of experience at the top levels of law enforcement mean he understands the landscape better than anyone and will ensure our team maintains compliance with state and federal laws, even as they rapidly change.”
Triana was employed at the Drug Enforcement Administration in several positions for over two decades before joining Talkiatry. He is recognised for his expertise in pharmaceutical compliance and investigations in the US and for the last 13 years of working in multiple Diversion Control Program positions as part of the DEA’s regulatory division.
As a DEA Diversion Control Division Deputy Assistant Administrator (his final DEA role from which he retired in March 2023), Triana provided enforcement direction and supervised all of the DEA’s regulatory criminal, civil, and administrative licensure operations involving pharmaceutical controlled drugs and List chemicals in the US.
During his time at the DEA, Triana designed programs to identify and detect those in the healthcare industry who violated U.S. and state healthcare laws, including the federal Controlled Substance Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, and False Claims Act. He was directly involved in healthcare investigations which resulted in criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions by HHS and DEA, including the exclusion of Medicare and the suspension or revocation of registrations (licenses) and state medical licenses.
Triana worked on joint investigations with various federal and state agencies, including HHS, FBI, US Attorney’s Offices, DOJ Main Justice Healthcare Fraud Section, New York State Department of Financial Services, New York State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and more.
Before joining the DEA, Triana was a police officer and detective for the Baltimore City Police Department and an accountant and auditor for an accounting firm. He has a B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers University and a J.D. from Seton Hall School of Law. Triana is also a member of the New Jersey and New York State Bar Associations and is a Certified Fraud Examiner.
“Telepsychiatry has completely changed mental health care in this country, and Talkiatry is at the forefront of bringing access to previously ignored populations,” said Triana. “With my decades of compliance and regulatory experience, I will ensure that Talkiatry’s psychiatrists are always informed and supported in a constantly changing world with confusing and often conflicting information, so they can focus on delivering high-quality support to people across the US.”
Talkiatry is one of the nation’s largest mental health practices. With its focus on virtual care, Talkiatry’s mission is to eliminate barriers that prevent people from accessing quality psychiatric support. This means providing psychiatry services covered by more than 60 health insurance plans while ensuring new patients can be seen within days of booking an initial appointment.
Talkiatry patients can expect 60-minute first visits and 30-minute follow-ups and will see the same psychiatrist for every appointment. Talkiatry’s more than 300 psychiatrists specialise in treating mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.