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CARMICHAEL, Calif. (AP) — The doctor isn't in, but he can still see you now.

Remote presence robots are allowing physicians to "beam" themselves into hospitals to diagnose patients and offer medical advice during emergencies.

A growing number of hospitals are using telemedicine robots to expand access to medical specialists, especially in rural areas where there's a shortage of doctors.

Dignity Health, which runs Arizona, California and Nevada hospitals, began using the telemedicine machines five years ago to quickly diagnose patients suspected of suffering strokes.

The San Francisco-based health care provider now uses telemedicine machines in emergency rooms and intensive-care units at 20 California hospitals.

Earlier this year, Santa Barbara-based InTouch Health launched the RP-VITA, a remote presence robot approved for hospital use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Published in National News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A steady stream of speakers at a Columbia Medicaid reform hearing urged a panel of citizens and Missouri lawmakers Saturday to not only reform but also expand the government-funded health care program.

The dozens of speakers included doctors, disability advocates, hospital executives and citizens who would become eligible for Medicaid under expansion envisioned by the federal Affordable Care Act.

The House Interim Committee on Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform is one of three special committees created by state lawmakers after the Republican-led Legislature repeatedly rejected Medicaid expansion proposals in the 2013 session.

Committee chairman Noel Torpey of Independence and several other legislators on the 52-person panel emphasized that repairing what he called a "broken" Medicaid system is equally if not more important than broadening access.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri health officials say they've been notified of two cases of intestinal illness from cyclospora.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services said Friday the reports came from health providers in Jackson County and southwest Missouri's Taney County.

The agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if Missouri's cases are linked to suspected outbreaks in several other states. The CDC says most of the reported illnesses occurred from mid-June to early July.

Missouri officials have not yet confirmed the source of the illnesses. Cyclospora infections are mostly found in tropical or subtropical countries and have been linked to imported fresh produce in past instances.

Health providers advise people with diarrhea, severe stomach cramps or nausea to seek medical attention.

Published in Local News

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