"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meaningful Use

Just what is Meaningful Use?  It gives health care providers financial incentives to improve patient care, reduce costs and to create an infrastructure to integrate health records.  Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka TARP or stimulus funds, hospitals and other providers could request reimbursement under Meaningful Use, provided we could substantiate how our money was spent and that we achieved the expected results.  Once the request was developed and the results verified through an audit process, it was submitted to the Federal Government.  This week, we received $3.3 million from the government based on what we have spent  at WMHS on information technology advances that fell under Meaningful Use criteria.  Quite honestly, I never thought that we would see the money.  After all, the US is in an economic crisis, the Fiscal Cliff is ahead and sequestration is looming.  I thought that any remaining TARP funds or Stimulus monies would be the first to go, but that wasn't the case, thankfully.  We have a request pending for another $1.4 million from the State also for Meaningful Use and, hopefully, that will come in the very near future.  Our investment in information technology has been considerable over the last few years and it will continue well into the future.  Such technology will be required going forward in order to get paid by the payors, as well as to extract data to improve the delivery of  patient care.  Both are extremely beneficial to our business and getting some of those monies that we invested back is great.

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