PMH Board Decides To Return $50,000.00 Grant

Marlinton, WV – The Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees met in special session to discuss whether to use a grant from West Virginia Health Care Authority to purchase a new computer server that would support the HMS management system currently in use by the hospital. The addition of the server would allow the hospital to incorporate HMS’s Electronic Medical Records module into the overall system.

The EMR module is needed so that the hospital can comply with anticipated changes to the way Medicaid reimburses health care providers. However, the HMS systems functionality and practical use is in question, as hospital staff and management have had ongoing problems with the system since it was installed. Additionally, if the Board decides to stay with HMS for electronic medical records, they will have to buy the server from the company because the equipment and software is proprietary. Steve Whited, consultant from Minnie Hamilton Health Systems says his recommendation is that the Board not purchase the HMS server at this time.

The Health Care Authority Grant specifies that the money be used to purchase an HMS compatible server. An attempt to revise the Grant to allow more flexibility in the equipment that is purchased was denied by the WVHCA. If they do not purchase the server, the Hospital will have to return the $50,000.00 grant. Whited talked to the WVHCA about another grant.

“There is another grant application process that is due Tuesday” he says. “It is their suggestion that we apply for that, with the revisions that we submitted last week, which are to purchase computers, networking hardware for the infrastructure for this facility that would help us with the ability to adapt to any type of EMR System.”

Although not guaranteed, the WVHCA has implied that by returning the current grant, a subsequent grant would be easier to obtain. Whited says that by submitting a new grant application, some of the restrictions can be eased. He says that instead of the hospital having to meet a cash match obligation, they can do an in-kind match for monies that the hospital is already expending, such as for salaries.

The new grant will be used to upgrade and modernize the hospitals fragmented and out of date computers. It will purchase all new machines and standardize software throughout the Hospital. A wireless bridge will be installed that will incorporate the clinic into the hospital network.

Whited says these upgrades are necessary regardless of which Electronic Medical Records systems the Hospital ultimately decides to go with. He and Aaron Vaughn, PMH’s new Information Technology expert, say that these upgrades will give the hospital more flexibility in choosing an EMR system. And this will satisfy a requirement set by Medicare and reinforced by Dr. Robert Must, Chairman of the hospital board.

“We have to make some steps toward meaningful use of Electronic Medical Records in order to get full reimbursement from Medicare” says Dr. Must.

The Board voted to return the $50,000.00 WVHCA grant and apply for the new one.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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