A capital expenditure of over $500,000 was approved Wednesday evening by the Adams Health Network (AHN) Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting. It will allow AHN to expand the capabilities of its long-term care facilities to receive software that will install electronic medical records and billing capabilities.
President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nordwick brought the proposal to the board for approval, saying the move will allow both the Adams-Woodcrest and Adams-Heritage facilities, the nursing homes operated by AHN, to begin electronic medical records next year.
The majority of the cost is approximately $387,000 for the software alone, while another $86,000 will go for annual maintenance of the system. Line fees, severs and other costs will bring the projected project to $537,389.
Nordwick said that while the maintenance fee will continue to be an annual cost for the hospital, that the hospital eventually will realize some savings.
Both Nordwick and Bill Watson, the new AHN vice president for senior residential services, emphasized that a number of industries in northeastern Indiana are already using this system, and Watson thanked the board, saying, "You just made my job a lot easier."
Nordwick said the hospital already uses electronic medical records and, among other things, it makes it much easier for doctors and nurses to communicate about patients when the doctor is not in the hospital. Doctors can log on to the system and write a prescription, an order for an x-ray, or some other test and it will immediately show up on the patient's chart.
Some of the money for the purchase of the new system will come from current funds while Nordwick added that they would "have to roll into the budget for next year" to complete the funding.
In other trustee action, members spent about 30 minutes in a telephone conversation with a representative from the iProtean company, a firm which produces educational materials for hospital board members and others in the health care industry.
Adams Memorial Hospital (AMH) recently purchased the iProtean package and it consists of programs in finance, quality, mission and strategy, and governance. Members can review the information and then take on-line tests to receive either a Level One or Level Two accreditation. An Advanced Certification is also available once the first two levels are achieved.
Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer JoEllen Eidam reported that the hospital received some good news from the Anthem insurance carrier. Since AMH has met or exceeded many of the Anthem goals and criteria, the hospital will receive an extra five percent payment for patients that Anthem covers at AMH. This percentage reflects a two percent hike for cost of living and another three percent for matching Anthem's criteria.
Chief Financial Officer Dane Wheeler noted that Anthem is the largest private insurance payor the hospital has (Medicare, self pay, and Medicaid are the leading sources of income) and represents about 17 percent of the hospital's income.