Last year, we issued a nationwide challenge to see 1000 critical access hospitals (CAHs) and small, rural hospitals get to Meaningful Use by 2014. The call to action was met with support; we could feel everyone roll up their sleeves in unison.
As of July 31, 2013, we passed the goal with 1,115 (65%) CAHs and small, rural hospitals achieving Meaningful Use. Specifically, 62% (approximately 822 of 1,332) of CAHs and 77% (approximately 293 of 383) of small, rural hospitals (those generally with less than 50 staffed beds) had attested to meaningful use of EHRs.
Small Rural and Critical Access Hospitals that Attested to Meaningful Use Cover the Nation
Challenges faced by Small Rural and Critical Access Hospitals Achieving Meaningful Use
These hospitals face unique challenges because of their:
Follow this link for information on how CAHs may overcome challenges to Health IT: http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/benefits-critical-access-hospitals-and-other-small-rural-hospitals
Safety net hospitals made huge gains in Meaningful Use since 2011
With hard work and grit, these safety-net hospitals have made amazing progress since 2011, despite the real challenges they face. The two figures below show the pathway of CAHs and of small, rural hospitals to Meaningful Use, respectively, between January 2011 and July 2013.
Note on legend: Hospitals were categorized into 1 of 6 hierarchical and mutually exclusive categories(1) Attested, Paid – hospitals have received payment for successfully attesting to Stage 1 Meaningful Use under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program.
Rising to the Meaningful Use Challenge
Many rural and CAHs are trailblazers; these hospitals are leading the way toward leveraging health IT to transform and improve the delivery of care to their rural communities. They help us show case leading practices that may help shape the path for other organizations.
Read more about how one CAH in Michigan, Harbor Beach Community Hospital , used Meaningful Use as a jumping off point to accelerate its progress to becoming a certified Patient Centered Medical Home.
2012 and 2013 Critical Access and Rural Hospital Champion Award
While we can’t thank everybody, those who received the Critical Access and Rural Hospital Champion Award from the National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari in 2012 and 2013 are listed below. This award recognizes the groundbreaking collaborative efforts these individuals have taken with public and private sector partners to accelerate Meaningful Use among CAHs and small, rural hospitals nationwide. What we’re most delighted to note about this award is that it is also in recognition of continued collaborations since 2012. These awards are not simply for a single instance of dedicated effort.
ONC is continuing to support CAHs and small, rural hospitals in achieving Meaningful Use
Here are four examples of ONC’s efforts to support these rural safety-net hospitals:
A collaborative initiative between ONC and USDA Rural Development generated $32 Million in funding to CAHs and rural hospitals across 4 states. For more information about the projects funded for these CAHs, follow this link: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2013/09/0181.xml
The Road Ahead for Meaningful Use
As we look to the road ahead, we see that we – and the rural hospitals and providers – are just at the end of the beginning. There is still much work to do in our continued support for rural health care. We are committed to helping those CAHs and rural hospitals and providers that have yet to achieve Meaningful Use; we are also committed to those that have already achieved Meaningful Use by helping them continue to make progress and use those tools meaningfully.
So, we’ll leave you with this figure—a map that shows CAHs and small, rural hospitals that attested to Meaningful Use as well as those that have not yet attested so you can see the success, but also the challenges ahead.
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