Kern Medical Center awarded federal funds for meaningful use of OpenVista EHR

Source: Medsphere and OpenVista

Medsphere Systems Corporation and Kern Medical Center today announced that Kern has met the requirements for Stage One Meaningful Use with Medsphere’s OpenVista system, the enabling electronic health record (EHR), and has received more than $5 million in initial reimbursement from the federal government.

Affiliated with both the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UC Irvine School of Medicine, county-owned Kern Medical Center cares for more than 16,000 patients annually and includes affiliated clinics that cover more than 100,000 patients. The 222-bed central California teaching hospital ultimately expects to receive in excess of $11 million, covering the initial investment in OpenVista, from the federal government over the life of the Meaningful Use reimbursement program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Imagine that every county hospital in the United States chose the same responsible path as Kern Medical Center. Local taxpayers would enjoy better care and save millions compared to the cost of other EHR systems,” said Medsphere President and CEO Irv Lichtenwald. “And all county hospitals could be connected and sharing patient records and valuable best practices. Kern and CEO Paul Hensler deserve credit for leading the way among publicly supported hospitals, and Medsphere congratulates them on receiving federal funds.”

Above and beyond the dollars saved on an EHR with OpenVista, Kern also calculates that the hospital will save from $1 million to $1.5 million annually on the elimination of paper and other costs associated with traditional patient record keeping.

“Many have argued that the implementation of an EHR is an organizational project, not an IT project. I agree, which is why I am so proud of the clinicians and staff here at Kern, who determinedly did the heavy lifting necessary for federal reimbursement,” said Kern Medical Center CEO Paul Hensler, FACHE. “When I see the multimillions of dollars other hospitals are spending to receive a fraction of their overall costs, I know that Medsphere and OpenVista was the right choice for our patients and local taxpayers.”

Kern Medical Center joins other Medsphere hospital partners who have received federal stimulus funds. Midland Memorial Hospital recently received $3.3 million of more than $7 million expected over the life of the Meaningful Use program; Hoboken University Medical Center earlier received about $3 million of an estimated $8 million in total federal reimbursement.

According to statistics provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), slightly less than 14 percent of all U.S. hospitals have met Meaningful Use requirements and received stimulus funds. As one of a select group of hospitals that have received federal reimbursement, Kern Medical Center has demonstrated what a community hospital can accomplish with the right system, partners and commitment.

About Medsphere and OpenVista

Founded in 2002 and based in Carlsbad, Calif., Medsphere Systems Corporation is an award-winning organization of clinical and technology professionals working to make quality health IT solutions accessible to organizations of virtually any size, shape or budget. Medsphere’s OpenVista® is a portfolio of clinical support products and professional services that leverages an electronic health record (EHR) system developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This VistA EHR is widely credited with helping transform the VA into the nation's most efficient and clinically effective healthcare organization. OpenVista, the most fully commercialized VistA offspring, is a responsible reapplication of the VA’s $8.5 billion investment, which recent studies show have yielded $3.09 billion in benefits, primarily from the near elimination of medication administration issues and duplicate testing.

Medsphere’s subscription-based pricing model enables hospital, clinic and integrated delivery network customers to pay for OpenVista from their operating budget with no upfront costs or back-end balloon payments. Expert implementation and other services facilitate fluid and rapid transition to a paperless clinical environment focusing on best practices and evidence-based medicine in six to nine months. Medsphere also actively nurtures the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, a global community of customers, partners, developers and other online collaborators who drive OpenVista innovation, and provide a parallel development and support structure.