Although most acute community hospitals in the United States qualify for both the Medicare and the Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentives, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is not eligible for the Medicare EHR Incentive, leaving it with just the Medicaid EHR incentive program, according to COO Esther Muna Thursday.
“Unfortunately, hospitals in the territories have been declared by statute as ineligible for the Medicare Hospital EHR Incentive, unlike the hospitals in the 50 states and the District of Columbia,” she told Saipan Tribune.
At the same time, she said the formula for the Medicaid share is complex and will take time before the corporation receives any Medicaid EHR incentive.
According to her, the data about the collected amounts is still being checked and the corporation is calculating and verifying the discharges to determine the amount of incentive for the corporation. The local Medicaid agency, Muña said, is helping CHCC by enabling access to the Medicaid database to verify patient eligibility.
According to Muña, the corporation used to have a “pending Medicaid eligibility” field because of the time it took the Medicaid Office to process eligibility applications.
“A complete check of the eligibility and bed days is in progress because those are key factors which will determine the actual amounts that the CHCC is eligible for [the incentive],” said Muña, adding that the Medicaid Office will also audit the numbers and claim submitted by the corporation.
Once this is done, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services will transfer monies to the CNMI so that the corporation can receive the incentive.
According to corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta, even though the CHC is only eligible for the Medicaid EHR incentive, the corporation is committed to implementing the open source (resource patient management system) RPMS EHR to improve patient safety, clinical care, public health reporting and data analysis, and efficiency in billing and accounts receivables.
Saipan Tribune learned that CHC's resource patient management system has been certified as a complete electronic health record for ambulatory and inpatient settings.
The CEO said that meaningful use of the project can be proven by the end of this year. “This is a lot of work for our EHR team, but we are making progress and hope to attest to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use by the end of the year,” said Babauta.
The CNMI will be reimbursed once it satisfies the stage 1 requirement of the Medicaid Office, which include procuring new computers, software, and manpower training.