Fletcher Allen, other hospitals seek federal meaningful-use status for EHRs

Feb. 3, 2011

Burlington, Vt. (February 2, 2011) – Fletcher Allen Health Care joined with more than 100 other hospitals across the nation on January 13 in a nationwide electronic health record (EHR) incentive program registration event to officially register with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The registration signaled Fletcher Allen’s intent to achieve the government’s meaningful-use EHR designation for Stage 1 by December 2011. Registration for the program opened the same week.

Achieving this designation will make Fletcher Allen eligible for incentive funds available through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). If successful, the organization will be eligible to receive up to approximately $4 million in incentive funds in the first year of a four-stage incentive program. Incentive payments to Fletcher Allen in subsequent stages of the program are expected to be lower than that received in the first stage and are dependent upon meeting each stage’s criteria.

The initial stage of the program, which takes place during 2011 and 2012, defines meaningful use for hospitals with associated medical practices as those that satisfy 39 EHR objectives established by HHS, allowing them to:

  • Electronically capture health information in a coded format;
  • Use that information to track key clinical conditions;
  • Communicate that information for care coordination purposes;
  • Implement clinical decision support tools; and
  • Initiate reporting of clinical quality measures and public health information.

“The primary reason to install an EHR system is to improve the safety and quality of patient care,” says John Brumsted, chief medical officer, Fletcher Allen Health Care.

“EHR implementation is also a top priority of the state of Vermont, and we’re working with the state’s Division of Health Care Reform as well as the Vermont Institution Technology Leaders organization. Currently, Fletcher Allen is ahead of the curve, as we are among approximately 3% of the hospitals nationwide to have a fully implemented EHR,” says Brumsted.

The installation of Fletcher Allen’s EHR system throughout all of its inpatient and outpatient sites was completed on schedule in December, three years after the $57-million project was approved by the state.

Find out more at: www.fletcherallen.org.

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