Rural Health Facility Reaches ‘Meaningful Use’ With Help from Regional Extension Center

Date: August 8th, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: Meaningful Use, Regional Extension Center

With the Help of Regional Extension Center, Rio Grande Hospital and Clinics Implemented EHR System and Successfully Attested for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program

The San Luis Valley is comprised of several small communities spread out across 8,000 square miles. In the western part of the Valley, residents seeking medical care head to Rio Grande Hospital, a 17-bed acute care hospital in Del Norte, or one of Rio Grande’s four clinics in Creede, Del Norte, Monte Vista and South Fork.

Even though Rio Grande is located in a remote area of the state, this has not been a barrier to the adoption of health IT in their organization. In fact, by working closely with the Colorado Rural Health Center, a Colorado Regional Extension Center (CO-REC) partner, Rio Grande’s clinics were among the first to successfully attest for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use for the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program. Additionally, Rio Grande Hospital was the third hospital in the in the state to achieve this goal.

Rio Grande Hospital and Clinics have worked closely with David Ginsberg, electronic health records expert at the Colorado Rural Health Center, for several years. Ginsberg helped Arlene Harms, Rio Grande Hospital and Clinics CEO and hospital administrator, select an EHR system for their clinics.  “Arlene deserves much credit,” Ginsburg said. “She had the vision to recognize the value of an EHR for both the clinics and hospital, and she had the tenacity to lead her facilities through a sometimes challenging implementation process.”

Ginsberg was also very helpful walking Rio Grande through the attestation process, “CO-REC was a valuable asset to me when we were attesting for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use,” said DeeAnn Sierra, clinic practice manager for the Rio Grande Hospital and Clinics. “Knowing that we had CO-REC to help us and lead us during the Meaningful Use attestation process, it took a lot of stress off of me. If I didn’t have an answer, I knew that we could rely on our contacts at the Regional Extension Center.”