GREENCASTLE -- The Putnam County community is likely not eligible for a $15 million Health Information Technology (HIT) grant being offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A community group that included members of the Putnam County Commission, Putnam County Council, Putnam County Health Department, Putnam County Emergency Management, Economic Development, Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and State Rep. Nancy Michael met on Dec. 30 to discuss the grant, and were concerned when hospital representatives did not attend.
PCH executive director Dennis Weatherford said hospital officials were aware of the availability of the grant before the Dec. 30 meeting, and did not attend the meeting because they knew the hospital was not eligible.
"A notification (about the HIT grant) from the American Hospital Association was received in December outlining the grant and the qualifications for application," Weatherford said.
Weatherford explained that nine HIT grants are currently available.
"Unfortunately, the Putnam County community is an unlikely candidate for the grant funding," he said. "Eligible communities must already have adopted the electronic health records (HER) process and health information exchange (HIE) organization, as well as other items. Putnam County Hospital is working toward adopting a more advanced system to allow for the EHR process."
PCH officials have spent the last two years working with various consultants and vendor reviews to bring state-of-the-art electronic health recording to the communities it serves. The current proposal under review by the administration, board of trustees and medical staff of the hospital is for the implementation of the Indiana Clinical System Network (ICSN).
ICSN is a collaborative effort between community-based hospitals, Clarian Health Partners, Cerner Information Technology and the Indiana Health Exchange.
In evaluating participation in the ICSN, Putnam County Hospital staff and administration have completed:
* Detailed demonstration of clinical revenue cycle electronic medical record and electronic health information exchange.
* Detailed onsite scope review.
* Onsite technical infrastructure assessment.
* Two site visits to Clarian West Medical Center to view the technology in daily use.
* A site visit to Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to view the system and Automated Drug Cabinet Safety Systems.
* Refernce calls with a similar collaborative Ohio hospital system to explore implementation methodology.
* Contract negotiations and rate quote review.
"If the project successfully proceeds, Putnam County Hospital will be one of the most technologically advanced critical access hospitals in the state and country when fully implemented," Weatherford said.
Weatherford estimated that about 70 percent of the cost of implementation of ICSN at PCH would be reimbursed by federal funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
"The leadership of Putnam County is working very hard to explore every available source of funding to cover the additional expenses," Weatherford said. "The hospital feels very strongly that the advancements in quality of care improvements and patient safety initiatives made possible through the Indiana Clinical System Network will be well worth the investment in technology. We will continue to work with our partners to bring the highest level of quality services at an affordable price to the Putnam County community.
"We will continue to explore every available funding opportunity and each network and association to accomplish this goal," he continued. "We sincerely appreciate the support and participation of our local community leaders and elected officials to effectively bring these technology-based resources to Putnam County, and we will continue to meet with this group on the progress of these efforts."