TMH Board approves purchases required for meeting federal mandate |

TMH Board approves purchases required for meeting federal mandate

Bridget Manley

The Memorial Hospital Board took a step Tuesday toward meeting a federal mandate that could have long-term impacts on hospitals around the country.

The board voted unanimously to purchase computer systems and modules to help implement the mandate, commonly known as meaningful use, which requires all medical records be electronic, portable and easily shared with other facilities.

Combined, they cost a total of $109,000, not including annual maintenance costs.

These components are required to meet the July 1, 2012 deadline for implementing the mandate's first stage.

"So we don't really have a choice," chairwoman Missy Bonaker said.

The hospital's finance committee approved one of the components, an interface management system, be fast-tracked so it could be started immediately, according to a letter submitted to the board by chief financial officer Bryan Chalmers.

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The system is one of the first new modules required to meet meaningful use regulations.

"This is critical … to meet these deadlines," he said.

Hospitals have good reason to meet them.

"You want to be ahead of the game, otherwise you'll be penalized," he said after the meeting.

Other changes also loom for TMH and other hospitals across the country.

As part of the meaningful use mandate, hospitals also must transition to a new medical coding system known as ICD-10.

The system will increase the number of medical codes from about 15,000 to 72,000, according to a presentation given to the board in September by Mitch Edgeworth, regional vice president for Quorum Health Resources, the hospital's management company.

Transitioning to ICD-10 will cost more money in hardware, software and labor, Chalmers told the board.

It also will require medical coders to receive more training, he added.

When the board discussed ICD-10 several months ago, it was projected that the hospital could spend $250,000 to implement the system, chief executive officer George Rohrich said.

"This is the beginning of those things coming through to meet government deadlines and requirements," he said.

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In other action …

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, The Memorial Hospital Board also:

• Approved, 5-0, medical staff privileges. Dr. Thomas Sullivan was approved for provisional appointment, and Dr. Alan Davidoff was approved for reappointment.

• Approved, 5-0, the hospital’s 2012 budget, which projects TMH’s net income at $1.5 million for the fiscal year. Operating expenses are projected to go up by 9 percent during FY 2012, which begins in January. Total revenue is projected to increase by 14 percent, according to the document.

The budgeted 2012 net income tops the 2011 projected net income by about 350 percent, according to the draft budget.

However, chief financial officer Bryan Chalmers said the 2011 projections are based on October financial records and could change.

• Approved, 6-0, canceling the board’s December meeting.

• Discussed board positions. The terms for chairwoman Missy Bonaker and secretary/treasurer Don Myers end in January. Residents may apply for the open positions, and members will be appointed by the Moffat County Commissioners, said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence. However, she said, Bonaker and Myers are encouraged to submit letters of interest to remain on the board.

Note: Myers arrived at the meeting after votes were cast to approve the 2012 budget. Board member Forrest Luke was absent.

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