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Schumer supports St. Joseph's tele-monitoring plan

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Sen. Charles Schumer stands with a stethoscope and iPad to illustrate how technology will be part of this program.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is throwing his weight behind a Syracuse hospital's plan that could ultimately save taxpayers $1 million. Saint Joseph’s Hospital is trying to get a federal grant that will help pay for a system meant to streamline care for Medicare patients.

Probably the most interesting part of the plan is the ability for hospital staff to tele-monitor a patient who’s at home, says Schumer.

“You could be at home and be hooked up, and the doctor at the hospital," Schumer said. "The nurse in the hospital could see what was happening in your heart, or your circulatory system or your lungs, as if they were standing right next to you. But you don’t have all the costs for paying for a hospital bed and keeping patients here etc. But if while they are monitoring, they see a blip, boom, they send word out, out goes an ambulance.”

Schumer also says the plan saves money by keeping patients out of hospital beds.   

“St Joe’s estimates by the end of this three year grant, they’ll cut the cost of the target population by 16 percent," Schumer said. "Health care costs go down, and quality of care goes up."

The $5.8 million grant would also make it easier to share medical records between between doctors and other community based providers. The program, which will start in May with or without the federal grant, will target the sickest Medicare patients.