Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti was in Bloomington-Normal on Thursday to witness a demonstration of Advocate BroMenn’s telehealth system.
Her visit came one day after the governor signed a measure Wednesday giving Medicaid patients access to telehealth behavioral and mental health care.
Sanguinetti said BroMenn was doing “God’s work” before the measure was signed, providing treatment to those who could not afford it and footing the bill.
“We don’t utilize the service based on ability to pay at the hospital. We treat the holistic patient and we identify what are the presenting concerns and how can we get the needs of the patient met,” said Advocate Health Care’s Executive Director of Behavioral Health Service Line Renee Donaldson.
Telehealth services provide rural communities access to world-class doctors without travel. It also avoids long wait periods for a psychiatrist appointment when many patients require immediate or timely assistance.
Donaldson said people are becoming more accustomed to TV, cellphone, and computer screens, so patients are comfortable talking to a doctor through the machine.
“We are moving into a computer-based world, if not already,” she said. “So there are a lot of people that already feel comfortable doing that and they can do that from where they’re at versus having to travel.”
Advocate BroMenn in Bloomington-Normal is one of seven Advocate hospitals that utilize telehealth. The hospital has used it for four years.
The measure was part of a mental health package signed by the governor this week.
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