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Kemmerer hospital sets electronic health records milestone

Kemmerer hospital sets electronic health records milestone

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kemmerer hospital sets electronic health records milestone
By Wyoming Business Report Staff

KEMMERER — South Lincoln Medical Center (SLMC) here reached an important milestone recently for using electronic health record (EHR) technology under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

SLMC is the first hospital in Wyoming and one of the first Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) in the nation to complete a 90-day period of demonstrating EHR "meaningful use" as defined by the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS).

A CAH is a rural hospital located at least 35 miles from any other hospital with no more than 25 inpatient beds. SLMC, a 16-bed facility, has been serving the area since 1961.

Having reached this milestone, SLMC qualifies for a federal incentive payment from Medicare. The Medicare EHR Incentive Program is a CMS effort designed to encourage the adoption and use of electronic health records.

The Wyoming Department of Health is developing a Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, which is also likely to provide incentive payments to the Kemmerer hospital later this year.

Wyoming Department of Health Director Tom Forslund said, “South Lincoln Medical Center’s achievement is a welcome demonstration that electronic health record initiatives can be successful in Wyoming.”

Forslund’s department includes Medicaid, which has been developing an information technology initiative known as the “Total Health Record.” As one step toward reaching the “meaningful use” milestone, SLMC transmitted an electronic record from SLMC’s EHR system to the department’s Total Health Record system.

“We see a critical role for the Total Health Record in improving efficiency and quality of care for Medicaid clients,” Forslund said.

SLMC employees were involved with the selection and installation of the appropriate software and training to meet “meaningful use” guidelines.

“Our focus has been to improve the quality of patient care and patient safety in addition to improving the exchange of information among health care providers and patients through our EHR,” said Eric Boley, SLMC chief executive officer.

SLMC received support and technical assistance from Health Technology Services, which has been designated by the federal government as the Regional Extension Center (REC) for Wyoming. The REC works under a federal cooperative agreement to allow smaller facilities to affordably achieve their health information technology goals.

The Medicare EHR Incentive Program was authorized under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Wyoming Business Report