CMS EHR Incentive Awarded to CHCC PDF Print E-mail

2013-04-19 - Governor Eloy Inos presented a $1.4 million check to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC)  for CNMI Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The CHCC received the first EHR Incentive based on the Adopt Implement Upgrade option of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the CNMI State Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive program.

The CHCC is implementing the certified Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) of the Indian Health Service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The CHCC has been using the RPMS for over 17 years, but did not implement the clinical modules required to meet the "Meaningful Use" (MU) requirements of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009.

Governor Inos said that “I am very pleased that the CHCC has moved forward with initiating the full implementation of the certified EHR because it will help to improve patient care, patient safety, public health reporting, and health information exchange for CNMI residents.  I am very aware of the RPMS since we initiated implementation of the system well over 17 years ago, but lacked the resources to fully implement all of the clinical and billing and accounts receivables modules.  Now, through the efforts of the CHCC, the CNMI State Medicaid Agency, and the HITECH Act of 2009, we are making significant and measurable progress.”

Governor also added that “[T]he EHR incentive, moving forward, is not based on ‘best effort’ but provides an incentive based on meeting specific benchmarks in the CMS rules and regulations.”  He added that, “Most people do not fully appreciate that the Meaningful Use rules of the CMS, is not about redoing technology, but focused on clinical quality improvements which must be documented.  So, I am looking forward to the day when the EHR is fully implemented and to the day when we will be able to exchange health information and analyze our healthcare problems, and improve care and health outcomes.”

Ms. Helen Sablan, the Director of the CNMI State Medicaid Agency, said, “The Commonwealth Health Center (CHC) hospital became the first hospital in the U.S. Pacific territories and/or state to receive the EHR incentive.“  She added that “Dr. Khorum became the first eligible provider to register for the system; although there have been several others that have since registered.  We have been working with other providers to move forward with EHRs and apply for their incentives.  Saipan Health, for example, has implemented a certified EHR and should complete their application by the end of this month for the 2012 incentives.”

Ms. Muna, the Acting CEO and CNMI Health Information Technology Coordinator, said that “Implementing an EHR is a process which we have been working through systematically and with limited resources.  Hospitals, normally take 3 to 5 years to fully implement a system and many spend tens of millions.  The CHCC Team is using the open source RPMS system from the IHS and is working hard to prepare for the next steps to meet Meaningful Use.  We are working to fully implement the laboratory, pharmacy, computerized physician order entry, health information exchange, personal health records, and many other applications to meet the CMS EHR Incentive Program requirements.  This is a major challenge, especially given the historic resource challenges.  Nonetheless, I am confident that we will meet the successive requirements of the HITECH Act of 2009.”