Idaho health system opens virtual care center

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Idaho health system opens virtual care center

The largest healthcare system in Idaho is bringing telehealth services to patients, hospitals, private practices in rural parts of the state.
St. Luke’s Health System unveiled the 35,000-square-foot St. Luke’s Virtual Care Center, located in Boise, during a community open house on Monday.
The new center includes 350 team members, including physicians, nurses, and other professionals, and more than 60 virtual care stations. The facility can provide 24/7 virtual care services to patients at health clinics, hospitals, and their own homes. St. Luke’s virtual health services are offered across Idaho and into Eastern Oregon.
"The reality is there are not enough physicians to provide proper care in every rural community," Dr. Eric Rich, Saint Luke's telehealth medical director, told KIVI TV in Boise.
Telehealth services are assuming a higher profile these days as major health organizations such as Penn Medicine, Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, and Mercy Virtual Care Center near St. Louis.
In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new rule to encourage the use of telehealth, while a Senate bill submitted in April calls for using telemedicine to fight the nation’s opioid crisis.