By James Beaty
McAlester Regional Health Center is in a race to shift completely to electronic records by the federally mandated 2015 deadline — and after coming from behind, some hospital personnel maintain there’s a chance for a victory lap.
MRHC Trustee Board members heard a presentation from the hospital’s Senior Vice President of Information Technology Frank Hilbert during their Wednesday meeting on the hospital campus.
To obtain the maximum federal and state funding available in connection with the switch-over from paper to electronic records, the transition has to be complete and in use for a mandated number of days by Oct. 1, 2015, Hilbert said.
However, the transition is broken into three stages, with the first phase required to be in use for 90 days by Oct. 1, 2013, in order to get the full stimulus funding available.
That means in order to get the full funding available for meeting the first deadline, “We have to be ready by July 1,” Hilbert said.
Hospitals were given from Oct. 1, 2011, through Oct. 1, 2013, to complete the requirements for the first deadline.
When he first arrived at the hospital, Hilbert said he had been told there was little chance of achieving the Stage One deadline, because the facility had fallen behind in its preparations.
Now, the hospital is on course to achieve it, he said.
“We’ve come a long way in the past year,” Hilbert said.
For the 2013 Fiscal Year, MRHC could receive $2,128,510 from Medicare, $396,339 from Medicaid and another $72,000 in the “Ambulatory” category, which has to do with clinics, for a total of $2,596,849, Hilbert said.
The total amount grows even larger by the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline, to $6,576,122, according to what Hilbert considers a conservative calculation.
“We have a chance of getting the full stimulus payments,” Hilbert said.
Hilbert spoke of a full switch-over from paper to electronic medical records, called EMRs in medical information technology jargon, and from paper to electronic health records, called EHRs.
“We have to get there — all the way — by Oct. 1, 2015,” Hilbert said.
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