Columbia Basin Hospital Outsources IT Support to Phoenix Health Systems; Phoenix to Implement Medsphere’s OpenVista Electronic Health Record

Affordable open-source-plus-IT-outsourcing solution will enable critical access hospital to automate clinical and recordkeeping processes, integrate EHR across multiple facilities and achieve meaningful use in time to qualify for federal stimulus funds

SAN DIEGO, Calif., AND EPHRATA, Wash., AND DALLAS, Tex.--Medsphere Systems Corporation today joined partner Phoenix Health Systems and Columbia Basin Hospital (CBH) in announcing the hospital’s agreement to implement Phoenix’s new Total IT (Information Technology) Solution service line, which includes Medsphere’s OpenVista electronic health record solution. Medsphere is the leading provider of open-source healthcare enterprise solutions, Phoenix is a national provider of healthcare information technology outsourcing and consulting solutions, and CBH is a critical access hospital in Ephrata, Wash.

The agreement represents a unique, innovative and cost-effective open-source-plus-IT-outsourcing solution to many of the critical issues hospitals—particularly small, budget-conscious hospitals like CBH—face today. These issues pertain to hospitals’ lack of resources to effectively manage IT requirements while simultaneously implementing mission-critical EHR systems in time to achieve “meaningful use” and qualify for federal stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.    

“Community care is our number one priority at CBH," said Robert F. Reeder, FACHE, MHA, CEO of Columbia Basin Hospital, “and this new Phoenix Health Systems/OpenVista initiative is a way to continue to enhance this care.

“A key focus for us this year is to capitalize on emerging information technology to further streamline medical recordkeeping. Electronic health records are integral to this process but the high cost of EHRs has been a big concern. Phoenix‘s Total IT Solution puts a quality EHR solution within our grasp both financially and operationally by giving us the IT support we need to bring a 53-year-old facility into the 21st century.”

Reeder continued: “This initiative also enables us to use the OpenVista EHR to help meet meaningful use requirements and successfully integrate clinical information across four facilities, improving the overall quality of patient care. Moreover, implementing a proven EHR that many physicians know and love from their VA training will help us continue to attract top clinicians to our community.”
Funded by a Medicare program, Columbia Basin—and certified critical access hospitals in general—anchor a community healthcare network serving all ages of the local population. The Phoenix implementation will address the health IT needs of four CBH facilities: the hospital, rural health clinic, nursing home and assisted living center.

In addition to OpenVista implementation and support, Phoenix will provide Columbia Basin with a variety of services, including IT leadership, infrastructure management and application management, under the terms of this five-year agreement. Implementation and support of OpenVista will enable Columbia Basin to achieve meaningful use requirements for ARRA stimulus funds. Under ARRA legislation, eligible hospitals that implement and meaningfully use an EHR by the 2011 deadline will receive millions of federal dollars through increased Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements between 2011 and 2014. The incentives become penalties for hospitals that have not implemented an EHR by 2015.

“Phoenix Health Systems’ Total IT Solution will help Columbia Basin Hospital improve patient safety and quality of care by automating clinical processes through the introduction of a comprehensive, integrated EHR,” said Phoenix President and CEO Darin K. LeGrange. “Given their size and funding constraints, critical access hospitals are in a difficult position when it comes to meeting ARRA deadlines for EHR deployment. Through our partnership with Medsphere, Phoenix can offer these hospitals a proven EHR solution and the knowledge, technology and staffing required to run a cost-effective IT department.”

The CBH implementation will mark Phoenix and Medsphere’s first collaborative venture since the two companies recently created a partnership focused on providing critical access hospitals with effective and affordable health IT to improve care in rural areas.

“Critical access facilities serve the underserved, which is why we think this partnership with Phoenix Health Systems is so critical to the health of the nation,” said Medsphere President and CEO Mike Doyle. “Our relationship with Phoenix gives hospitals like Columbia Basin the ability to harness the latest technology to make sure patients get a level of care usually only available in urban areas. Everyone deserves that same quality, and Medsphere is thrilled to engage in a partnership that makes it a reality.”

CBH and other critical access hospitals provide a vital service to rural areas where medical resources are few and far between. Columbia Basin’s wide range of healthcare services, spread out over multiple facilities, impact the lives, from birth on, of virtually every resident of Ephrata and the Columbia River basin. Together, the Total IT Solution and OpenVista allow organizations such as CBH to integrate potentially lifesaving clinical information throughout an extended healthcare enterprise, making relevant information available in real-time to clinicians in diverse clinical facilities and situations.

About Critical Access Hospitals

Critical access hospitals (CAH) are certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare that is intended to improve their financial performance and reduce hospital closures. There are more than 1300 CAHs throughout the U.S. The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to strengthen rural healthcare by encouraging states to take a holistic approach, provides grants to states that are used to implement a CAH program, encourage development of rural health networks, assist with quality improvement initiatives, and improve rural emergency medical services.

About Columbia Basin Hospital

Columbia Basin Hospital’s talented team of physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals works continuously to make the very best healthcare available to the Columbia River basin area of central Washington. In addition to 25 acute-care, 29 long term-care and 32 assisted-living beds, CBH operates an emergency room, family medicine clinic, rehabilitation center, diagnostics laboratory, and telehealth services. Located in the town of Ephrata, 68 miles northeast of Yakima and 124 miles east of Seattle, CBH is part of Grant County Public Hospital District No. 3. Visit www.columbiabasinhospital.org for more info.

About Phoenix Health Systems

Headquartered in Richardson, Tex., a Dallas suburb, Phoenix Health Systems is a national information technology solutions provider offering an integrated set of professional and technical services to community hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Through consulting and IT outsourcing, Phoenix enables any healthcare organization to achieve its long-term objectives of administrative cost reduction, increased efficiency, improved patient safety and regulatory compliance. Visit www.phoenixhealth.com for more info.

About Medsphere and OpenVista