Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is considering legislation that would require doctors to be in the room for the initial dose of a drug used in medication abortions.
The Republican-led Legislature approved the measure this year. Supporters say the requirement would prohibit abortions using telemedicine and protect a woman's health and safety by ensuring the prescribing physician is present. Critics, however, say the process is safe and that the legislation is a further effort to restrict access to abortion services in Missouri.
The Missouri Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday that would require insurance companies to cover medical services provided electronically if they cover the same service when it is delivered in person.
A shortage of rural health care professionals throughout the state has health systems connecting with patients in remote areas through telehealth.
At the University Hospital in Columbia, telehealth coordinator Samuel Woodard thumbs a remote which sends a camera at the far end of the room spinning around to face him. His co-workers at the Missouri Telehealth Network offices across town appear on the screen.
“Hey Katie, how’s it going? We’re just going over the equipment, showing him how the telehealth unit works.” Woodard says.
Missouri Telehealth Network coordinator Samuel Woodard holds up an otoscope, a tool used for examining the inside of an ear canal, which is able to provide a live feed to a television screen on Sept. 20 at the University Hospital in Columbia.
Credit Lee Jian Chung / KBIA
A stethoscope rests on top of a telehealth unit during a demonstration on Sept. 20 at the University Hospital in Columbia. The stethoscope is able to provide a live audio feed of a patient’s heartbeat to doctors in distant sites.
In September, the state awarded grants to eleven rural Missouri hospitals to improve broadband internet connections speeds. The connection would be used for telehealth, a way rural towns access physicians in bigger cities electronically. KBIA’s Lee Jian Chung brings us the first of a two part series on the expansion of telehealth services in Missouri.
In April 1924, Radio News Magazine ran a splashy futuristic cover story: "The Radio Doctor – Maybe!" Kids sit around a new-fangled doohickey and say "ahhh" for a distant doctor on a video screen. In this weekly Health & Wealth update, the future is now! Telemedicine is expanding to rural hospitals across the country.