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Category Archives: Current Affairs

EHR Helps Joplin Clinic Rise from Rubble in 72 Hours

The devastating tornado that swept through Joplin on May 22 completely destroyed a number of physician offices, including that of Tracy Godfrey, MD, a Family Practitioner with the Family Health Center of Joplin. But thanks to electronic health records, Godfrey had access to all of her patients’ information, and in less than three days after the catastrophe, the practice was able to reopen its doors at a temporary location.

The Missouri Health Information Technology (MO HIT) Assistance Center traveled to Joplin to document Godfrey’s amazing story for “On the Road to EHR Success.”  Godfrey’s experience demonstrates the safety, endurance, and value of electronic health records in the wake of a disaster.   Although Family Health Center of Joplin lost the building and its contents, the practice survived because of the decision made years ago by Cynthia Croy, MD, Godfrey’s partner, to switch the clinic to an EHR.

Patient needs continue, regardless of whether or not Family Health Center of Joplin has an office, Godfrey points out.  In their new temporary home, patients are greeted with a calm, relaxed, and inviting environment, a world away from the clinic’s chaotic disaster zone.  Armed with her laptop and their EHR, Godfrey is free to focus solely on patient needs and not have to worry about recollecting their histories.   It is truly business as normal. 

Godfrey credits their IT specialist, John Motazedi, CEO, SNC2, for the data safety measures that protected their patient files and their rapid response that enabled Family Health Center of Joplin to recover their EHR data so quickly.  Data were backed-up every 15-minutes and was stored on multiple servers, both onsite and at remote locations.  Motazedi urges physicians on an EHR to do frequent data back-up and store it at multiple locations (other than their home) to protect and preserve data in the event of widespread destruction. 

Godfrey and Croy wonder what impact the permanent loss of paper-based practices and their patient health records will have on the health and well-being of their community.  As the people of Joplin struggle to recover and rebuild their lives, the strain could influence their health and possibly place a greater demand for health care services from a smaller pool of health care providers.  To view Godfrey’s full story, click here.

If a disaster struck you, what would be the fate of your practice, patients, and community?  Your practice could survive, if you use an EHR, and have appropriate back-ups.

For information on the Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs, EHR adoption, or how the MO HIT Assistance Center helps health care providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of certified EHRs, please visit the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center Website, E-mail us, or call us toll-free 1-877-882-9933.

MHA Reports On Status Of Electronic Health Records In Missouri Hospitals

Missouri hospitals are making significant investments in health information technology, according to a new special report released by the Missouri Hospital Association. Hospitals’ investment in electronic health records promises new opportunities for quality improvement in Missouri’s health care delivery system and an economic boost through expansion of jobs in the state’s health care and information technology sectors.

“Hospital’s progress on EHR implementation is vitally important to our health care system in Missouri,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA president and CEO. “There are federal incentives for hospitals that are contingent on demonstrating meaningful use of the technology in 2011. These funds will not only partially offset part of the cost of adoption for hospitals, but it also will increase economic investment and the addition of technology jobs.”

The report tracks Missouri hospitals’ progress across four main areas of use and 24 basic quality and performance functions. The data indicate that 60 percent of hospitals reported operation of a certified EHR system and the intention to seek federal incentives during the next two years.

Click here for more information.
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IRS announces: “Portion of Form 990 Schedule H Optional for Tax-Exempt Hospitals for Tax Year 2010”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that tax-exempt hospitals that are required to file the 2010 Form 990 have the option to complete part V, B (community health needs assessments) for the 2010 tax year for the purpose of providing hospital communities more time to familiarize itself with the types of information the IRS will be collecting related to compliance with section 9007 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to address any ambiguities arising from the extensive revisions of the form and instructions. The IRS invites comments on how to improve the clarity and reduce the burden of reporting the information related to the additional requirements on the Form 990 and Schedule H. Click here for more information on this announcement from IRS.

Missouri’s Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Attestation Now Open

Missouri’s Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is now accepting attestation information. As of June 1, eligible professionals and hospitals can apply for Medicaid incentive payments.

For those already registered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the next step is to set up an account on MO HealthNet’s secure website, and follow the instructions. Over 45 hospitals and 350 professionals have already registered with CMS. Worksheets are posted on the Web site to help providers gather the needed information to demonstrate eligibility for the program, including patient volume and EHR certification. Providers are encouraged to utilize the worksheets to calculate payments and to ensure you have all the required information needed to apply for the incentive program.

MO HealthNet will offer demonstrations of the new system during weekly webinars throughout June, beginning the week of June 6th. Those session dates will be posted on MO HealthNet’s Web site and are a perfect opportunity to become more familiar with the system and to ask questions. Those who need one-on-one support with the process can access phone consultation service (866) 879-0109.

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Rural Hospital’s Conference Information

The 2011 Rural Hospital Conference was held on June 2, 2011.

Click here for the agenda.

Activities Worksheet for Grant Writing NOSORH

Goal Worksheet for Grant Writing NOSORH

Missouri Health Connection Enters Technical Service Provider Negotiations

Missouri Health Connection, formerly known as the Missouri Health Information Organization (MHIO), Missouri’s state-designated entity to oversee the development of a statewide health information exchange, announced after an extensive national bid process, the board’s unanimous decision to enter into contract negotiations with Cerner Corporation as the technical service provider for the project. 

 “Entering negotiations with Cerner brings us one step closer to creating the Missouri exchange that will improve public health and patient care, reduce costs, empower consumers and create jobs.  We look forward to negotiations with Cerner and then getting to work on building a secure, integrated health system model that coordinates care across a currently fragmented system,” said Raul Recarey, president of Missouri Health Connection. 

Missouri Health Connection has been awarded $13.8 million in federal funding to underwrite the planning and implementation process for Missouri’s statewide health information exchange (HIE) that will ensure patients, providers, physicians, hospitals and other health care organizations have access to critical medical record information in order to improve patient care and increase efficiency.  The effort will also create more Missouri jobs; and, it will help ensure Missouri physicians, hospitals, and other providers qualify for additional incentives that could infuse nearly $400 million into the Missouri economy.

Missouri Health Connection is a public-private non-profit organization overseen by a board of directors including members from state government, private health care organizations, private practice physicians, professional organizations, and consumer advocacy groups.

For information on the Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs, EHR adoption, or how the MO HIT Assistance Center helps health care providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of certified EHRs, please visit the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center Web site, E-mail us, or call us toll-free 1-877-882-9933.

Rural Kansas Doc Leads the Way in EHR Certification

Dr. Jen Brull, a family practice physician in the tiny western Kansas town of Plainville has become what is thought to be the first physician in Kansas — if not in the country — to be federally certified for using electronic health records.

Being certified for “meaningful use” of EHRs by the federal Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology qualifies Brull for up to $44,000 in Medicare-based incentives over five years and $63,750 over six years through Medicaid.

“Achieving meaningful use was a natural extension of the benefits I have already seen after implementing an EHR three years ago,” Brull said. “My patients receive better care, my practice has grown financially and I am personally more satisfied since converting to electronic medical records.”

Read more here.