HCHC looking into potential partnership with Great River to convert to electronic health records

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Administrators at Henry County Health Center are working on a proposal by July 31 to convert patient information to an electronic health record.

A Henry County Health Center (HCHC) task force identified Cerner Electronic Health Record as the best option to automate health records ? and they want to partner with Great River Health Systems in West Burlington to do so.

?The way to really look at it is regionalism and caring for southeast Iowa together. Cost savings plays a part in that,? said HCHC CEO Robb Gardner during the board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, June 19.

Great River Health Systems converted to Cerner Electronic Health Records in April 2014. Gardner explained that partnering with Great River?s system would enable patient?s medical records to be accessed at either hospital through a unified medical record.

Great River CEO Matt Wenzel, who was present at the HCHC board of trustees meeting, said Cerner and Great River have developed a good relationship, and through this relationship, HCHC would have access to the CEO of Cerner if needed.

Gardner added that while conversion is difficult, Great River has made it efficient and this opportunity would take advantage of a lot of the hard work they already did when they converted to Cerner four years ago.

Cerner is used by Veterans Affairs and the Department of Justice, Gardner said.

All medical records are still subject to HIPAA.

HCHC Chief Financial Officer David Muhs announced during the meeting that the hospital was awarded the Healthcare Finance Management Association MAP award for their innovative and effective strategies that have enabled them to achieve excellence in revenue cycle performance.

This is the second time HCHC has won the award. The last time they won was in 2014. The hospital also applied for the award in 2015 and 2016. They are the only critical access hospital to win the award twice.

In other news, the board honored yet another physician with the Hobbie Award. Dr. Fred Savage, who has 42 years of service to the community as a physician, was recognized as an outstanding individual in health care.

?He has cared and given a lot of his time and is one of the most deserving of this Hobbie Award,? Gardner said.

The Hobbie Award is an award created in honor of Wanita Hobbie for 38 years of service and is given to individuals associated with HCHC who display the same amount of commitment, who always go above and beyond and give their life and commitment to HCHC and caring for their patients.

?It all goes back to Ecclesiastes 3:3,? Savage said. ?There?s a time to heal.? Savage also thanked his wife for helping him achieve the award.

Savage will be retiring soon.

The next board of trustees meeting will be Tuesday, July 31.