HRRMC receives national recognition

January 20, 2012

Salida, Colorado-Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center was recognized for being in the vanguard of "furthering change in healthcare delivery" at a ceremony at Denver Health on January 12.

Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology, presented HRRMC's Lesley Fagerberg, vice president of finance, and Andy Waldbart, manager of information systems, with a certificate recognizing the hospital as a meaningful user of electronic health records. HRRMC was only the second of 33 rural and Critical Access Hospitals in Colorado to successfully attest to meaningful use.

"HRRMC is proud to be on the leading edge of Colorado Critical Access Hospitals as we adopt an electronic health record," said Fagerberg. "Being able to securely share medical records electronically is important to furthering the goals of decreasing health-care costs and increasing the quality of health care."

The hospital's transition from paper to electronic records began in 2006 with the implementation of a software program designed to help hospitals build an electronic medical record in stages. To achieve meaningful use of electronic health records, hospitals must meet a series of criteria established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The push to achieve meaningful use took a year, according to Fagerberg. "It was a team effort spearheaded by Dolly Chamness, nurse manager of the Medical/Surgical Department, and Andy Waldbart and Jesse Kaisner of our Information Systems Department," said Fagerberg. "The support of our physicians was a key factor in our success."

Achieving meaningful use is directly tied to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was signed into law on February 17, 2009. HITECH is designed to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health-information technology.

The federal government passed this act to encourage widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). HITECH authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals when they use EHRs privately and securely to achieve specified improvements in health-care delivery.

(Photo courtesy Chet Seward/Colorado Medical Society)

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