Chattanooga's Erlanger Hospital targets electronic records funding

Chattanooga's Erlanger Hospital targets electronic records funding

November 15th, 2011 by Naomi Jagoda in News

Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Laurene Vamprine, Erlanger hospital's chief information officer.

Laurene Vamprine, Erlanger hospital's chief information officer.

Erlanger hospital is aiming to get millions in federal money from a program that encourages use of electronic health record technology.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal government is giving financial incentives to hospitals and medical professionals to use electronic medical records.

Erlanger Chief Information Officer Laurene Vamprine said this technology makes it easier for doctors to access and share information across venues in a standardized way.

Erlanger is hoping to receive funds through both Medicare and Medicaid.

The hospital is applying for stimulus money from Medicaid. The hospital is expected to receive about $2.1 million over three-to-six years, Vamprine said.

Erlanger also aims to apply to Medicare's three-stage program by Sept. 30, 2012, Vamprine said.

If Erlanger is approved for all three stages of Medicare money by 2013, the hospital can receive $5.5 million over four years, Vamprine said at Monday's Budget and Finance Committee meeting.

The money would go to the general fund to be dispersed as needed, Vamprine said after the meeting.

There are several criteria that hospitals must meet to get the money. Vamprine said Erlanger has most of the objectives for stage 1 of Medicare's program in place.

The program is beneficial because "there really isn't anything required ... that we shouldn't be doing already," she said.

For similar reasons, Budget and Finance Committee Vice Chairwoman Jennifer Stanley said that she understands the rationale for the hospital looking into the federal money.

"You don't do something like this because of the cost-benefit from what we get back from the government," she said. "To the extent that we're doing things that make sense and we've already been doing them anyway and we're out looking for the benefit that can be there [the program is worth exploring]."

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