[Watford City, N.D.] – Local health care provider McKenzie County Healthcare Systems is being recognized Thursday, December 29, 2011, by the Regional Extension Center for Health Information Technology (REACH) for its leadership in the nationwide transition toward electronic health records (EHR). REACH is the regional extension center designated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to assist clinicians in Minnesota and North Dakota on becoming meaningful users of electronic health records. REACH is pleased to welcome McKenzie County Healthcare Systems into an exclusive group of leaders – the Meaningful Use Vanguard (MUV).
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems is a 24-bed critical access hospital in Watford City, North Dakota, with a rural health clinic in Watford City. It is the first critical access hospital in North Dakota to successfully attest to meaningful use, meeting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria that indicate providers are successfully using their EHR to improve patient care.
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems will receive one of the first incentive payments made under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments are available to eligible professionals and hospitals when they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of a certified electronic health record. Hospitals can qualify for payments of $1 million or more.
"Meaningful use" means "providers need to show they're using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity," according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. The implementation of health information technology reduces errors and allows for alerts for concerns like allergies or drug interactions.
“We’ve made meaningful use a priority within our system. The incentive for hospitals and physicians to achieve meaningful use status is an advantage to patients in that it improves the care we offer to our patients as it provides more timely, effective and cost effective patient care by requiring caregivers, providers, hospitals and doctors to electronically enter information such as care plans and drug orders by computer,” said Daniel Kelly, CEO, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems.
“Our whole hospital and clinic staff have focused on making best use of our Healthland electronic health record and in turn being able to gain meaningful use status. As a result of our efforts, we are able to provide better patient care,” added Kelli Hammeren, clinical informatics technician, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems.
Joining REACH in honoring McKenzie County Healthcare Systems at the event are representatives from the North Dakota Hospital Association, the Center for Rural Health and the North Dakota Health Information Technology Department.
MUV is an initiative of ONC, and is designed to honor, thank, and bring together clinicians from clinics and hospitals, like those at McKenzie County Health System, who have successfully implemented electronic health records. MUVers (members of the MUV program) serve as local leaders and advisors in the nation’s transition toward an electronically-enabled health care system.