The Fulton County Hospital Board of Governors held a special meeting on Monday, April 11 to discuss the financing for the hospital's new electronic records system.
CEO Joe Hammond told board members that the total investment by the hospital to bring it's electronic medical records system up to standard by the federally mandated deadline of 2015 would be $617,890, with American recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds covering 94.2 percent of that cost, or $582,052. That would leave $35,838 to be paid in total by the hospital.
"We have arranged for financing, to be paid on a quarterly payment system, over a five year period," said Hammond. "The 94.2 percent covered by ARRA funds will come to the hospital through our Medicare reimbursements within a 12 month period. As such, as we receive the funds from ARRA, we can pay down our loan."
Board member Bill Pace asked for clarification on the loan terms.
"Will there be a penalty if we pay down the loan ahead of the five year schedule?"
Hammond replied that no, there would be no penalty, and the five year term would allow them to pay out the hospital's portion of $35,838 in a more stable manner.
Dr. Rebecca Phillips then addressed the board with her concerns that the software chosen for the upgrade might not be certified as acceptable to the federal mandate.
"Dr. (Griffin) Arnold and myself have implemented this type of system in our clinics, and it is a long process," said Phillips. "We have seen and experienced first hand the kind of implementation issues that can crop up. Has the hospital done the required work flow analysis and risk analysis needed to ensure this product is the right fit for this facility?"
Hammond assured Dr. Phillips and the board members that the proper steps have been taken, and following the advice of the hospital's CPA and with the assistance of the Center for Healthcare Information Technology (CHIT), the hospital was moving forward with the correct product.
Hammond offered to hold a conference call with Dr. Phillips and other knowledgeable parties, such as CHIT, to address any concerns she may have about moving forward.
The board then recessed into Executive Session.
Upon returning to open session, it was announced that Dr. Daniel P. Valach had entered into an agreement to lease the entire 3,648 square foot North Arkansas Family Clinic from the hospital for a total $2,128 per month.
"Dr. Valach will have two providers in the clinic, five days a week, and has offered to keep on the staff that is currently in the clinic," said Hammond.
The board received an update from COO Tammy Friel regarding bids accepted to fulfill the ARRA energy grant received by the county in 2010 for improvements at the hospital and at a manufacturing building in town.
The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Governors is to be held on Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m.