Hospital tech update may cost $70,000 to $100,000
By Stephanie Johns
Morgan Memorial Hospital will have to provide between a $70,000 and $100,000 cash outlay to pursue the next stage of its electronic health records certification.
Chief Information Officer Patrick Cook provided details about “Meaningful Use” certification during the recent meeting of the Morgan County Hospital Authority.
Megan Morris, Director of Development and Community Relations, later explained that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services establishes how a hospital is supposed to operate its electronic health records.
Now that the hospital has met Stage I it is going for Stage II, she said.
Cook said they were paid 81 percent of the cost for going through Stage I.
Stage II will mean an additional cost to the hospital because the government requires more through each stage.
Four of those Stage II requirements will be behind the scenes while the fifth will be a patient portal, he said.
He explained that the patient portal will be a website patients can visit. Patients will be given a log in and allowed to view some of their records.
“That’s basically the biggest expense of all this because our vendor will be maintaining a website for us,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of ongoing cost with that.”
He estimated that the hospital’s cash outlay for this would be between $70,000 and $100,000.
“There will be monthly, ongoing expense related to this maintenance of these five things we have to add to our EHR,” he said. “The good news is that hopefully the government’s going to for 80 percent of that initial capital outlay eventually.”
He added that to be compliant they will have to bear the expense.
Cook said the hospital probably will not be able to have its 90-day attestation in October, the earliest hospitals can do this.
“Sometime between October of this year and September of next year we will attest for Stage II,” he said.
He added that Stage III, an integration of medical devices into the system, will be in September 2015 or 2016.
“That’ll be the big thing in Stage III,” he said.
Printed in the February 7, 2013 edition