May 18, 2015

Program to explore health care delivery methods

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Rapidly changing technological innovations, including mobile devices and apps, could return the nation’s health care system to a time many believed was gone forever: House calls, albeit likely virtual. 

A symposium at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will examine changing methods for delivering health care. “Alternative Delivery Methods in Health Care: The Search for Quality and Efficiency,” is the focus of the 17th annual SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute. 

The symposium, Friday, May 22, in the Hiram H. Lesar Building at the SIU School of Law, will examine the various facets of the changing delivery environment and the legal, medical and policy issues these changes raise.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend any of the sessions.  To schedule a specific presenter for an interview, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school’s director of communication and outreach at 618/453-8700.

Technological advances, such as broadband capabilities, mobile applications and mobile devices are creating a “new normal in home health care,” Jennifer A. Brobst, assistant professor and director of the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy, said. 

“In some ways it’s the future, yet it’s harkening back to a time when doctors made house calls,” she said. “This is particularly important in rural areas where specialists may be miles away, hospitals are not readily available, or people have acute or critical conditions and they are homebound.” 

Among the presenters are Dr. Feliciano “Pele” Yu, a pediatrician and chief medical officer at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Catherine Hungate, a nurse who is the certified telehealth coordinator at Southern Illinois Healthcare. Both Yu and Hungate are involved with telemedicine now, and will provide a “really interesting local dimension to the types of things we are talking about,” W. Eugene Basanta, the Southern Illinois Healthcare professor of law emeritus and a professor in the SIU School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, said. 

Legal and policy issues that arise with the changing alternative delivery landscape include liability, jurisdiction and licensing, privacy interests, and information storage. For example, a concern might be whether a doctor in another state must also have a license to practice in Illinois if they are virtually seeing patients who reside there, Basanta said. The technological innovations may require states to review current regulations. 

A goal in delivering health care is to create a balance in quality, cost and access, Basanta said. 

Another recent change -- companies offering on-site health care clinics for employees -- is reminiscent of a company store or doctor. Dr. Diana Han, another presenter, is the chief medical officer/global medical director for General Electric’s Appliances & Lighting business.

She leads a health services team responsible for on-site delivery of occupational and preventive health services and programs. 

Other presenters include Mark Rust, managing partner of the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and chair of the firm’s national health care department; Nathan Cortez, associate dean for research at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, who teaches and writes in areas of health law, administrative law and Food and Drug Administration law; and Sarah Rosenberg, deputy executive director for the Convenient Care Association, the national trade association of more than 1,850 private-sector retail clinics. 

Basanta believes society, including older people who are becoming more technologically advanced, will welcome changes that offer better access to health care. Brobst predicts there will also be a large impact on ambulatory care and paramedics who can arrive at a medical emergency and instantly consult with physicians – potentially saving lives.

“The Center for Health Law and Policy continues to try to pair national innovation with local and regional interests,” she said. 

More information on the program is available at 

Registration for the institute ranges from $40 to $125, with up to five hours of continuing legal and medical education credits available.  Pre-registration is preferred but on-site registration is available the day of the program.  Online registration is available at, calling 618/536-7751 or by fax at 618/453-5680. There is also an option to attend via teleconference at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield or the Illinois State Bar Association’s regional office in Chicago. 

Event sponsors also include Southern Illinois Healthcare, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois State Medical Society and the Chicago Medical Society.