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SCBH considers contracting for eEmergency room services

Lead Summary

Later this fall if you have to make a trip to the Swift County-Benson Hospital emergency room there is a good chance an experienced ER doctor is going to be monitoring your case.
SCBH is in the process of signing an agreement with Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center’s eCare services based in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Avera has become the nation’s leader in providing tele-medicine services to community hospitals. Though it is primarily focused on the upper Midwest states now, it services are spreading across the country.
eEmergency service provides two-way video equipment in local rural emergency rooms linked to emergency room trained physicians and specialists at a central hub in Sioux Falls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Glenwood, Appleton, Madison and Dawson are all using eEmergency services.
Last month, staff from SCBH including CEO Kurt Waldbillig and Director of Nurses Melissa McGinty-Thompson traveled to Sioux Falls to see Avera’s eCare services facility as well as get a detailed description of the services it offers.
The service costs about $68,500 a year, Waldbillig told the SCBH governing board at its meeting July 27. However, in the first three years of a contract, Avera writes down that cost considerably through a grant.
Photo:  Emergency room physicians in Avera McKennan’s eEmergency control room in Sioux Falls, SD, consult with rural emergency rooms across the Midwest, providing experienced and coordinated care for patients. Photo provided by Avera McKennan.

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