Burgess Health Center Launches eCARE Emergency Service

Patients who arrive at Burgess Health Center’s emergency department will now be treated by local medical providers, with assistance from an online team of board-certified emergency physicians and critical care nurses.

The new eCARE Emergency telemedicine program, funded by a $170,988 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Health Program, launched online recently at Burgess. The facility’s medical staff is now connected with Avera Health in Sioux Falls, S.D., where emergency professionals are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Using high-definition live video and sound equipment, Avera’s eCARE Emergency virtual team can guide nurses and emergency staff until a local physician arrives. They can also consult with doctors on difficult cases.

“We are committed to delivering the best possible healthcare to our community, and this technology takes a big step toward meeting that commitment,” said Fran Tramp, president of

Burgess Health Center. “We really appreciate the assistance of the Helmsley Charitable Trust to make this possible.”

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.

“In rural areas such as our seven-state region, a full complement of medical services is difficult to provide, especially in emergencies,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley trustee and rural South

Dakota resident. “The goal of the Helmsley Charitable Trust is to make quality healthcare available regardless of geography. eCare technology can help us do that.”

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. Programs also include training, emergency medical care, diagnostics, cardiac care, cancer care, and research into innovations that specifically address the challenges of healthcare delivery in rural America.

Pictured: Karla Copple, Director of the Emergency Department, Dr. Kovar, of Family Medicine Clinic, along with local providers, watch Avera’s eCARE Emergency virtual team during training.