Published on March 11, 2014

St. Vincent's Clay County E-ICU Featured on Action News

Reported by: Leslie Coursey

Walk into any room in the intensive care unit at St. Vincent's Clay County and you'll see monitors and a camera mounted on the ceiling at the foot of the bed. Those are the tools of telemedicine.

ICU nurse Jane Magpusao said, "If the bedside physician is not available, that physician comes on the screen."

Magpusao showed Action News how it works. When a doctor isn't immediately available and there's an emergency, nurses press a red button. Within 10 seconds, a doctor from St. Louis or New York pops up on the screen.

"They're intensivists, and they're actually the best in their practice," said Magpusao.

When seconds count, Magpusao said she's seen telemedicine save lives. But lawmakers in Tallahassee say the practice needs regulation.

Right now, the out-of-state physicians used in a teleconference don't have to be licensed in Florida and insurance companies are not required to reimburse hospitals or physicians for tele-health services. House Bill 751 and Senate Bill 7028 are looking to change that.

The House and Senate bills are working their way through committees.