Statement from Wayne Brackin, EVP/COO of Baptist Health South Florida, on Veto of eICU Appropriation

Statement from Wayne Brackin, EVP/COO of Baptist Health South Florida, on Veto of eICU Appropriation

<0> For Baptist Health South FloridaRay Casas, 305-372-1234 </0>

We are extremely disappointed about today’s veto of the appropriation providing funds to develop an “eICU” pilot program at a rural hospital in Florida.

Baptist Health South Florida was a pioneer in the development of eICU, a highly sophisticated system that provides enhanced monitoring and care for critically ill patients. The appropriation would have provided start-up costs for a rural hospital to initiate an eICU and take advantage of Baptist Health’s advanced technology and expertise. Critical care physicians cannot possibly be in every ICU in every hospital, and the eICU would have allowed a rural hospital to keep patients in their community and treat severely ill patients in their own community hospitals rather than transferring them to faraway medical centers.

Innovation and technology, such as eICU, are the vanguard of the future of healthcare. This project was specifically chosen to demonstrate how technology can be economically leveraged to improve quality while at the same time reducing costs, an advance that should be welcomed by all. It’s unfortunate to lose such an extremely worthwhile program of $275,000 in a $77 billion budget. The eICU program was not part of the $120 million identified as “turkeys” by Florida Tax Watch.

The eICU programs leverage technology to bring additional clinical experts, such as critical care physicians, to every ICU bed, in addition to the onsite doctors, nurses and staff. Having this “second set of eyes” monitoring patients constantly brings enhanced clinical expertise and resources – and better outcomes for patients.

The meaningfulness of this appropriation was to open the door, and the minds, of our State to this undeniable path to increased access and quality at a time in which healthcare providers are facing increasing pressure to improve the quality of care while cutting costs.

We want to thank all those who supported this appropriation, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Hospital Association, along with the vision of the legislators who placed the appropriation in Florida’s budget.