January 4, 2012

Hospital honored with REACH award

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

The McKenzie County Healthcare Systems (MCHS) has always considered itself to be among the leaders in providing quality health care. And on Thursday, Dec. 29, the facility was recognized as a leader by the Regional Extension Center for Health Information Technology (REACH) for being the first critical access hospital in North Dakota to successfully implement meaningful use of electronic health records.
“We are thrilled to be the first hospital in the state to reach this major milestone in a nationwide effort to modernize healthcare information technology, making the system more efficient and controlling healthcare costs,” states Dan Kelly, CEO of MCHS. “It’s a real testament to the quality of the staff we have at the hospital as well as the Healthland EHR solution that we put in place.”
MCHS was welcomed into the Meaningful Use Vanguard (MUV), which honors clinicians and hospitals that have successfully implemented electronic health records by REACH at a ceremony held at McKenzie County Hospital on Dec. 29.
According to Kelly, the hospital started this transition over three years ago in an effort to have current technology and provide tools which would promote quality care for patients. And the benefits have really paid off.
“As a result of our efforts, we are able to provide better patient care such as drug-drug and drug-allergy checking when prescriptions are ordered and we have quick access to patient care guidelines, as well as the historical patient information,” states Kelly.
And Kelly continues to look forward to the benefits the Healthland EHR solution will bring to the hospital system.
Some of those benefits, according to Kelly, are the ability to have a single patient chart throughout the system so staffs at the hospital, clinic, nursing home, and assisted living facility are all working from the same record with the same information.
“That is really important for assuring quality patient care in a multi-facility healthcare system like ours,” Kelly states.
Not only is MCHS the first critical access hospital in North Dakota to successfully attest to meaningful use of electronic health records, but it will also be the first critical access hospital in North Dakota to qualify for Medicaid reimbursements for using certified EHRs.
These reimbursements come from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services EHR Incentive Program, a program that was created to give hospitals financial incentives for implementing and demonstrating meaningful use of an EHR system.
MCHS is a 24-bed critical access hospital with a rural health clinic. A critical access hospital refers to rural primary health care hospitals that give limited outpatient and inpatient hospital services to people in rural areas. MCHS is comprised of the McKenzie County Hospital, the McKenzie County Clinic, the Good Shepherd Nursing Home, the Horizon Assisted Living and the Healthy Hearts Wellness Center. They are committed to providing quality services, continuity of care, the assurance of qualified staff and family involvement for individual patients.