Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri visited Mercy Hospital in St. Louis Monday to speak with healthcare workers about the implications of federal healthcare changes. He also received a tour of the hospital's Telehealth Services, often used to serve rural communities that don't have access to specialty or intensive care.
Mercy SafeWatch is an electronic Intensive Care Unit(e-ICU) that serves Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Blunt learned how Mercy is able to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for doctors that can't always be there in person.
The system tracks vitals, and patients can even be monitored through a camera. It also includes maternal fetal care in O'Fallon and Washington, Mo. for moms with high-risk pregnancies that may not have the time to travel to St. Louis frequently.
Blunt also spoke about the Affordable Care Act, of which he has been an open critic. Blunt does not think it will work and said it could lead to fewer insured Americans.
"So much of our focus right now is on the Affordable Care Act and whether it will work or not, and how it's going to work and whether employees will offer insurance," Blunt says. "I think while that's happening, in many ways, we're taking our eye off the ball of how do we improve the programs that we've been responsible for for a long time like Medicare?"
Blunt said he worries that even if companies offer insurance, employees will not be able to afford the offered packages.