PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton came to Peoria Friday, touring and connecting with organizations making a difference in the city.

During the afternoon, Stratton made her way to OSF HealthCare’s OnCall Digital Health facility in the city’s downtown area.

The center opened earlier this year with the purpose of providing care to patients without them having to come into the physical hospital.

“Our guiding principles when we started building OSF OnCall here, was really we wanted to have something that would be available 24/7 every day of the year,” Michelle Conger, CSO/CEO OnCall Digital Health, said.

Stratton called the telehealth concept innovative and said it’s getting healthcare into the hands of the people who need it most.

She said, as the Chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, she’s traveled across the country to speak with residents, and she discovered one of the biggest barriers to getting healthcare is getting to it.

“Many communities already have to travel far distances just to see a physician and as the pandemic has shown us, we need safe accessible options to quality care,” Stratton said. “Expanding telehealth is a matter of equity, of closing the gaps that keep so many Illinoisans from accessing resources to be happy and healthy.”

She said OSF telehealth is a major step in getting all of Illinois well.

Stratton also acknowledged that not having access to broadband and internet devices is an issue that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is working to improve. She said the state’s Connect Illinois initiative is putting $420 million towards connecting Illinoisans and making sure broadband exists in every corner of the state.