PCRMC is making several internal changes, according to their most recent board meeting on Wednesday, September 27. These changes involve searching a for new vendor for their online health portal, changing how providers are reimbursed for Medicare Part B services, and the type of Radiography services they offer.

1)

PCRMC is changing the way they do radiography, the technology used by hospitals to obtain x-Ray images. They are transitioning from using what they call Computed Radiography to Digital Radiography. Computed Radiography, according to PCRMC, uses a special imaging plate in place of conventional film, and Digital Radiography is a form of x-ray imaging that uses digital sensors instead.

Director of Medical Imaging Dennis Enloe, Administrative Director of Ancillary Services Shawn Hodges and Radiologist Ed Downy listed the benefits of making the switch to Digital Radiology.

n The process of Digital Radiology is much faster than its counterpart, which can be beneficial when a patient needs to move quickly, such as a trauma patient, according to PCRMC.

n The digital images provide better clarity

n Digital Radiography is better at detecting diseases within the patient

n There is less of a radiation does to patients.

The transition from Computed to Digital Radiography is a $3.5 million transition. PCRMC currently offers medical imaging series in both the Pain Clinic and Surgical Services in the main hospital building as well as the Medical Office building, Waynesville Medical Plaza, Orthopedic Suite, Forest City Family Practice in St. James and the Bond Clinic.

2)

PCRMC is is participating in a new payment system for some employees called the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The program affects how physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified registered nurse anesthetists are reimbursed for their services covered by Medicare Part B. The program reimburses more or less of a provider’s services based on their performance.

MIPS, according to PCRMC, was created under the Medicare Access & Chip Reauthorization Act passed in 2015, The program makes it’s adjustments based on the following categories.  

n Quality
n Use of Resources
n Clinical Practice Improvement Activities
n Advancing Care Information

Each of these categories are weighted differently, with Quality being the most important, according to PCRMC.

Payment adjustments are applied two years after the performance year, according to PCRMC. So the payment adjustments based on 2017 will not be applied until 2019. PCRMC said that “with approximately 125 providers, PCRMC could see up to $500,000 in Medicare Part B payment adjustments in 2019.”

3)

PCRMC Chief Health Informatics Officer Jeff McKune discussed the process for replacing PCRMC’s core health information system, the way patients can manage their health care online and communicate with the hospital.

 According to McKune, proposals will be sent to three technology vendors, Meditech, who currently provides PCRMC’s information services platform, Epic and Cerner.

“We chose to seek proposals from these three vendors because, if picked, they appear that they would work best with integrating both our hospital and ambulatory platforms,” said PCRMC Chief Executive Officer Ed Clayton.  According to the presentation, on-site demonstrations and site visits with each of the companies will most likely take place in early 2018. The decision to select a vendor will not take place until mid-2018 and after that, implementing a new health information system will take approximately a year to complete, according to PCRMC.