This month, Pearl River County Hospital administrators announced the hospital attained “Meaningful Use” level in the Federal Government’s Electronic Heath Record adoption mandate.
According to the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s website, Congress passed the act in 2009, which included funding for the computerization of health records.
The government awards incentive payments to participating hospitals, the hospital’s Chief Information Officer Laith Al-Jabi said. Hospital administrations have the option to participate or not; however, non-participation could result in a reduction of Medicare reimbursement.
Al-Jabi said the hospital will receive full reimbursement for the cost of the system.
The hospital’s electronic system was initialized in 2013.
“We went live, online, with the nursing and clinical point of care system in 2013,” Al-Jabi said. “In February, we went live with the physicians’ ChartLink and Physician Documentation.”
There is a 90-day period to bring the system online, Al-Jabi said. After that, hospital administrators inform the government incentive program of their completion of stage one.
Al-Jabi said the hospital has an on-site server supported by CPSI, an electronic health system provider.
A patient’s entire record, from registration to discharge, is saved into the system, Al-Jabi said. This includes a full medication record and an electronic barcode to match medications to the patient’s armband.
“This system lessens the risk of medical errors,” Al-Jabi said. “It provides access to more information and improves delivery of medical care.”
Al-Jabi said X-rays and lab results are also stored on the system.
The hospital achieved an almost 100 percent score in each of the 11-core measures reviewed, Al-Jabi said. The hospital must meet a certain percentage of measures for patients in the facility.
These measures include, maintaining an up-to-date problem list, record of vital signs, cigarette smoking status, medical allergy list, demographics record, patient education, medication reconciliation and physician’s orders entries, Al-Jabi said.
There are three stages to the mandate and Al-Jabi said the hospital is ready to move to the second stage.
“This is an important milestone for the hospital,” PRC Hospital Board of Trustees President Scott Alsobrooks said in a press release. “By reaching this federal mandate, we ensure continuity of care and critical funding needed to guarantee that our under-served community not only continues to receive vital medical care but is provided opportunities for employment.”
According to Al-Jabi, the hospital is licensed to provide care for about 24 patients and the operation of a 24-hour emergency room.
Al-Jabi said there was a learning curve at first, but the nursing staff adjusted well and the records system is running smoothly.
“Our small hospital is doing big things in our provision of excellence in patient care,” PRC Hospital Administrator Steve Vaughn said in the release. “We are making use of electronic advantages in providing care, saving the government money by accurately reporting Medicare claims and maintaining a high level of transparency in our practice. All of this benefits the patient. I am so very proud of our team of professionals at this hospital.”
Learn more about the American Recovery Act at www.recovery.gov.