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PMH moves forward with electronic records system

Buckeye, W.Va. –
The federal government is providing financial assistance to help hospitals implement electronic health records, which offer a number of benefits, including improved patient care; increased patient participation in their care; improved accuracy of diagnoses; increased efficiency and cost savings.

During Thursday evening’s Pocahontas Memorial Hospital board meeting, CEO Barbara Lay discusses the new emphasis on electronic medical record keeping.

“You know, there’s a real push from the federal government – and with the accountable Care Act, it’s even greater – is that we’ve got to move forward with electronic health records. We’ve really got to get everything on-line by June 30, so that we don’t lose this opportunity for reimbursement. I mean, it’s going to be part of doing business in the future anyway.”

The sooner PMH can implement electronic records, the more it can be reimbursed by the government. The hospital board approved purchasing the MedHost electronic records system. The hospital will pay about $350,000 up-front for the system and training, but will be reimbursed for all but about $100,000, if it can show the government meaningful use after six months.

Financial officer Chad Carpenter reported a $4,000 profit in November, following a $177,000 loss in October. A $75,000 contribution from the county commission helped push PMH’s bottom line into the black for the month.

Carpenter says the finance committee needs to develop a policy for bill collections.

“What we’re looking for is looking for policies about how we make it fair to send people to Magistrate,” he said. “We don’t actually have a policy that says, ‘we’re going to send these people for collection.'”

Carpenter said 30 out of 32 applications for the hospital’s financial assistance program had been approved in November – totaling more than $39,000 – for which the hospital is reimbursed.

Board member Kathy Mossesso discusses other aspects of the program.

“That turned into $39,000 and the other thing that I think, in our community, is that it does, it builds a caring facility,” she said. “I think the idea that we alleviated that from those 30 people, every month or so, is pretty awesome.”

Board chairman Dr. Robert Must says the financial assistance program helps the hospital, as well as patients.

“Putting a lot of energy into the charity care thing is going to improve the hospital’s bottom line in more ways than one,” he said. “Becasue we get that money taken off of our cost report and we also, in the next couple years, the Affordable Care Act is going to require that the hospital demonstrate how it is working to help the community needs.”

In other business, the PMH board approved a $5,000 expenditure for a new aluminum sign.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director. 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 as the host of Noon Hour magazine Monday through Friday and also on Wednesday nights from 10 p.m. until midnight as she and Chuck co-host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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