August 2009

Plans Underway to Qualify Facilities for Economic Stimulus Incentives


CHI’s Economic Stimulus Work Group continues to lay the foundation for a three-pronged plan to upgrade clinical information technology (IT) systems across CHI and qualify for federal stimulus incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The plan will cover CHI’s critical access hospitals and ambulatory services, as well as Prospective Payment System (PPS) hospitals that could qualify for stimulus incentives in the future. As part of this systemwide effort to tap into hundreds of millions of dollars in federal incentive payments for IT, the work group completed comprehensive planning sessions for IT implementation at the first two areas of focus: critical access hospitals and ambulatory services. The work group is also developing a three- to five-year strategic plan for clinical standardization at PPS hospitals. The work group held a two-day planning session with Allscripts, an electronic health record solution provider, on a systemwide strategy for ambulatory health records that will eventually include more than 1,000 physicians. The work group also conducted a one-day planning session with Meditech regarding implementation of similar technology for critical access hospitals. The work group’s initial plan is to implement Meditech version 5.6 before migrating to version 6.0, which would meet the federally required “meaningful use” definition for electronic health records and qualify CHI for federal incentives. Depending on available funding for the current fiscal year, the Economic Stimulus Work Group will prioritize projects, determine implementation schedules for individual facilities and provide a detailed timeline for the entire initiative. For more information, contact Cristina Thomas, cristinathomas@catholichealth.net.