COTTAGE HOSPITAL BECOMES FIRST CRITCAL ACCESS HOSPITAL IN NEW ENGLAND TO ACHIEVE CMS STAGE 1 MEANINGFUL USE CERTIFICATION FOR ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS

Monday, August 1, 2011

Woodsville, NH – Cottage Hospital completed attestation for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Stage 1 Meaningful Use (MU) certification on July 15, 2011, making it the first critical access hospital (CAH) in New England to achieve that milestone. Cottage Hospital was the second hospital of any kind in the state of New Hampshire to complete attestation for Stage 1 MU following the Elliot Health System of Manchester which attested on July 13.

To help bring higher quality and safer care to patients through broader adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), the ARRA HITECH Act of 2009 has provided incentives to hospitals and physicians who become “meaningful users” of EHRs. In achieving the Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria, Cottage is not only a leader in the state but also among the first healthcare providers nationally to demonstrate that it is using certified EHR technology in ways to improve clinical quality and care.

“The achievement to successfully reach Stage 1 Meaningful Use was the result of a total commitment by every department at Cottage, and the pivotal assistance of the Regional Extension Center of NH,” said Gary Tomlinson, Director of Management Information Systems. “At Cottage Hospital the patient always comes first, and enhancing patient care through the use of technology is the real accomplishment behind achieving Stage 1 Meaningful Use.”

“One of the most impressive aspects of Cottage’s rapid attestation for Stage I is that they accomplished the task with so few resources – this 25-bed hospital on the New Hampshire-Vermont border was able to achieve something that has so far eluded far larger organizations with much bigger teams and much deeper pockets,” said Jeff Loughlin, Executive Director, Regional Extension Center of New Hampshire (RECNH). “As an arm of the ONC supporting provider organizations in achieving meaningful use, we were honored to help Cottage by providing an experienced “sanity check” on its plan and approach, as well as some tools and support for ensuring the hospital’s readiness. Despite its size, Cottage is a true leader in the NH healthcare community and deserves every bit of recognition for this significant achievement.”

“Cottage Hospital’s vision to attain a full Electronic Health Record (EHR) was a strategic objective driven by the hospital leadership team and board of trustees. The initiative was started over seven years ago and the definition and guidance of Meaningful Use provided us with a clear road map of how to accomplish this goal,” said Steven Plant, Chief Financial Officer.

A CAH is designated as such by its State and by CMS for meeting the following criteria:

• Participates in Medicare

• Is located in a rural area and is more than a 35-mile (15 in mountainous terrain) drive from any other hospital

• Maintains no more than 25 inpatient beds

• Maintains an annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less per patient

• Complies with all CAH Conditions of Participation, including the requirement to make available 24-hour emergency care services 7 days per week

About Cottage Hospital

Cottage Hospital is a 25 bed, critical access hospital serving the beautiful Upper Connecticut River Valley. For additional information regarding Cottage Hospital and any of our services visit us on the web at www.cottagehospital.org or call (603)747-9000.


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