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12/11/2009
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California Health Provider Tackles EHRs

Community Health System expects to improve quality of care, patient communications, and cost management using Allscripts electronic health record software.

Community Memorial Health System, a Ventura, Calif. healthcare provider, selected Allscripts software to manage health records, medical practices, and revenue cycles for 150 physicians. The healthcare provider expects to improve quality of care, patient communications, and cost management.

Specifically, Community Memorial plans to implement AllScripts Electronic Health Record, Practice Management, and Revenue Cycle Management software, according to a statement from Allscripts.

"With Allscripts, the electronic health record has finally become so user friendly that it has tipped the scale from being a burden to becoming a benefit," said Stanley Frochtzwajg, M.D., chief medical officer of Community Memorial Health System. "National quality measures and the reimbursement tied to those measures are impacting physicians and hospitals alike. The only real way to comply with those measures and compete successfully with other health systems is by collecting and collating that data with an EHR."

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit with two hospitals and nine family health centers in Ventura County, an affluent coastal area of California adjacent to Los Angeles. Community Memorial was established in 2005 by the merger of the 240-bed Community Memorial Hospital and 103-bed Ojai Valley Community Hospital.

Community Memorial will host the Allscripts software for 70 contracted physicians in its nine clinics, along with a pilot group of 12 community physicians, before offering it to other affiliated physicians in the community. Community Memorial is taking advantage of recent changes to Stark federal regulations that allow hospitals to provide assistance to non-employed physicians in purchasing healthcare IT.

Community Memorial physicians will be able to use the electronic health record to access a "virtual patient record" that aggregates clinical information about a patient from all the information systems in use across the organization.

Community Memorial will also deploy Allscripts Clinical Quality Solutions, which draws data from the Electronic Health Record and Practice Management system to automate quality reporting requirements for government and payer-funded pay-for-performance programs. CQS is provided by Allscripts in partnership with TeamPraxis, and delivers real-time clinical decision support information to improve the quality of patient care.

Community Memorial acted now to be eligible for incentive payments of $44,000 to $64,000 per physician that first become available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2011, under provisions of the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The incentives will be paid over five years to physicians who adopt and demonstrate "meaningful use" of EHRs.

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