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In a medical emergency, a quick response from board-certified emergency physicians and critical care nurses can mean the difference between life and death. Fall River Health Services (FRHS) will soon have access to these services, thanks to a new eCARE Emergency telemedicine program funded through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Rural Health Program.

The $172,298.00 grant will allow the facility to acquire equipment and training to connect with Avera Health in Sioux Falls, where emergency staff will be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help local medical providers deliver the best possible care in the shortest possible time.

High-definition cameras and microphones will allow the eCARE Emergency virtual team at Avera to both see and hear everything that is taking place in the emergency room. They can guide rural nurses and other providers in patient care until a rural physician arrives. They can also consult with doctors on difficult cases.

“We look forward to providing this state-of-the-art service in conjunction with Avera E-Care. The 24-hour availably for ER physician and nurse consults will benefit our patients and staff in providing high quality rural health care,” states Tricia Uhlir, CEO.

The new eCARE Emergency service is expected to be operational by Nov. 13. This type of hub-and-spoke health delivery, pioneered by Avera and Helmsley, is also being used to bring pharmacy services and intensive care specialty access to rural hospitals and patients across the seven-state region.

The eCare programs are part of the ongoing efforts of Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program to improve the lives of rural residents in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Other efforts include telehealth services, training, emergency medical care, diagnostics, cardiac care, cancer care, and research into innovations that specifically address the challenges of healthcare delivery in rural America.

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