Vermont patients benefit from federal EHR incentive program


first_imgVITL Middlebury, Vt. (August 12) – Vermont patients are beginning to see results from a $27 billion federal program that offers incentives for physician practices and hospitals to use electronic health records systems, according to US Senator Patrick Leahy. Those benefits include Vermonters receiving more reminders about important preventive care. Senator Leahy spoke during a visit to Middlebury Family Health Friday, the first Vermont physician practice to meet all of the federal program’s criteria for improving patient care using its electronic health records system.”I am delighted that this targeted federal investment has enabled Middlebury Family Health to become the first Vermont practice to receive incentive payments from Medicare for using an electronic health record system,” Leahy said. “Better records mean better patient care and patient safety for Vermonters.  With breakthroughs like this, we are beginning to shift to a higher gear in health reform. The federal partnership with Vermont Information Technology Leaders and local physician practices has the potential to benefit every Vermonter.   Vermont has been in the front ranks of health care reform, and Middlebury Family Health’s adoption of an electronic health record system is an excellent example of this leadership.” As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress appropriated $27 billion to fund the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs. To participate in either of the programs, eligible health care professionals must use federally-certified EHR technology, and meet a number of criteria for becoming “meaningful users” of EHRs and improving patient care. Once documenting that they have achieved meaningful use, eligible professionals receive up to a total of $44,000 in incentive payments from Medicare over the five years they choose to participate in the program or up to $63,750 in incentive payments from Medicaid over the six years they choose to participate in the program.  Hospitals may also participate in the programs, receiving incentives based on a number of factors, beginning with a $2 million base payment.All four physicians at Middlebury Family Health recently achieved meaningful use of their EHR, and each has received the maximum first year incentive payment of $18,000 from Medicare, making them the first eligible professionals in Vermont to do so. The physician practice will use the federal funds to pay for the EHR technology and to continue to make investments in improving patient care.  “Our electronic health records system has streamlined communication in the office between physicians, nurses, and other staff,” said Eileen Doherty Fuller, MD, a partner at Middlebury Family Health. “We’ve also greatly enhanced communications with our patients. Using the EHR, we can better track which patients are overdue for physicals, mammograms, and checkups for high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.” When the electronic health records system flags an overdue preventive service, Middlebury Family Health contacts the patient to schedule an appointment. “Often patients don’t realize it is time for them to come in, so we are able to be more proactive about reminders,” Dr. Fuller said.Other general criteria for meaningful use that directly affect patient care include: eprescribing and the ability to immediately check drug-to-drug and drug allergy interactions; maintaining up-to-date patient medical problem lists and medication lists; and providing patients with a clinical summary of their visit, including any changes to medications, instructions and other relevant information.  One feature of Middlebury Family Health’s electronic health record system that has been particularly beneficial is its ability to track whether ordered lab tests were actually completed, Dr. Fuller said. If a patient fails to show up for a scheduled test, the EHR will alert physicians who can follow up with the patient.Middlebury Family Health has also met the standards for being a patient centered medical home, and attained the highest level status in that National Committee for Quality Assurance program, Dr. Fuller noted. As a result, Middlebury Family Health will receive the highest level of payment for participating in the Vermont Blueprint for Health program. “Without the EHR, we could have never done that,” she said.”Middlebury Family Health worked with VITL and the state of Vermont using collaborative workgroups for meaningful use and the medical home. We included four staff members and two doctors to learn and implement this system. Joining me on this team were Dr. Linn Larson, Medent Specialist Michelle Clark, and Office Manager Stacy Ladd. They kept the staff involved and excited throughout the process. In addition, Christine Fuller and Connie Billings were an important resource to the team. The efforts of all our employees and this core team were critical to our success,” Dr. Fuller said. The other two physicians in the practice areJean Andersson-Swayze, MD, and Dayle Klitzner, MD. Assistance from VITLPhysician practices and hospitals around the country receive assistance in implementing EHR technology and achieving meaningful use from 62 non-profit regional extension centers funded by the federal government. Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL), an independent non-profit organization based in Montpelier, is the only such center serving Vermont.VITL’s staff worked with Middlebury Family Health to implement its EHR system and connect it to the Vermont Health Information Exchange, a secure statewide health data network operated by VITL. Middlebury Family Health’s four physicians received information and guidance from VITL on achieving meaningful use and qualifying for federal incentive payments.”VITL congratulates Middlebury Family Health for being the first Vermont practice to achieve meaningful use. While you are in the vanguard, there are many other practices following in your footsteps,” said David Cochran, MD, VITL’s president and CEO. “We’re working with more than 750 of the state’s 1,000 primary care providers and expect that Vermont will have one of the highest percentages of health care providers in the country achieving meaningful use. That’s great news for Vermont patients and the state’s health care reform efforts,” he said.The transition to advanced electronic health records systems is also happening in the state’s 14 hospitals, Dr. Cochran noted. Copley Hospital in Morrisville announced on June 29 that it was the first hospital in Vermont to achieve meaningful use. VITL is working with Copley and the rest of Vermont’s hospitals on meaningful use and health information exchange.VITL assisted Porter Medical Center with implementation of the hospital’s new EHR system, which went live on August 1, as well as the installation of a lab system interface to the Vermont Health Information Exchange so that Middlebury Family Health and other physician practices in the hospital’s service area can receive lab results immediately in electronic format.”Through the efforts of Porter Medical Center and area physician practices, including Middlebury Family Health, Addison County is well on the way to becoming one of the most connected communities in Vermont for medical records,” Dr. Cochran said. “Patients in the Middlebury area will experience better health care because of the increased use of health information technology, everything from smoother check-in at the front desk to greater information sharing among authorized providers, which will result in fewer duplicated tests and quicker diagnoses of medical problems.” last_img read more

The Organic Chicken’s Story


first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Summer is right around the corner.Time for cold beer, burgers on the grill, SPF 30 on the beach, and weekend escapes with the convertible top down.Farmers’ markets have bloomed everywhere, filled with organic foods by the bushel.But have you noticed that organic foods seem a little different this year?Suddenly, it’s no longer enough just to be labeled “organic.” Now everything organic has to come with a little story.From leaf lettuce “carefully tended by dedicated gourmet vegetarian monks,” to beef cattle “pampered by sensitive cowboys on isolated ranches in Wyoming,” the stories get more and more creative.Organic foods now compete with other organic foods for the best “back story,” to use Hollywood screenwriters’ favorite word.And even writing a menu for an organic restaurant is now an officially sanctioned academic course at some schools.Example: Do you only want a “Cobb Salad”?Or would you rather have “Fourme d’Ambert, preservative-free Applewood Smoked Bacon, Buttermilk ‘Panna Cotta’ from specially-bred Guernsey Cows, organic-certified Romaine Lettuce, Free-Range Hard Boiled Egg and Scallion Salad” on your plate?Same thing, my friends.So here’s the story of an organic chicken. We’ll call her Melinda.Melinda was hatched into a wonderful, loving family, as you might expect.And she was raised properly on a farm in Utopia, Vermont. That is, she grew up pecking away at organic corn and nine other natural grains, and she greatly enjoyed listening to Mozart’s beautiful “Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453,” which was piped into her coop.The occasional yoga class kept her flexible, fit and helped her achieve a harmonious relationship with her barnyard world.A good-natured, sociable chicken, Melinda learned the art of meditation from her mother, one of the first Buddhist chickens in the coop. She learned that if she led a good life, she might eventually attain chicken nirvana.But also being a down-to-Earth bird, so to speak, Melinda knew that she would probably come back to Earth several times in various incarnations. In her next life, she hoped to return as a golden retriever, after enviously watching several on the farm who seemed to be eternally happy and filled with joy at the sight of something as simple as a small yellow ball.Melinda was, of course, a free-range chicken, which gave her the comforting illusion that she could wander around without care for the rest of her natural life.She loved the wholesome grain, the gentle breeze, the sun on her beak, the stars at night and the 15,000 other young chickens with whom she shared her cozy home.All in all, Melinda was the ideal organic chicken—with the perfect credentials to wind up in our local farmers’ market the other day: free-range, grain-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, relaxed, at peace with herself, and looking forward to a happy afterlife.Melinda was priced at 10.50 a pound. (Hey, good “back stories” don’t come cheap. Also note that, following the advice of marketing gurus, I didn’t use the $ sign. Research tells us that would make Melinda look too expensive.)It’s a big, organic world out there—more than $30 billion worth of organic food is now sold every year in our country.So whether you buy chemically-free, or non-GMO, or naturally-sedated or whatever, as the Cockneys say in London, “you pays your money and you takes your choice.”It all comes down to whose story you believe.last_img read more

Meat Shortage Expected due to Coronavirus


first_imgThis comes as Tyson Foods prepares to close its largest pork plant in Iowa tomorrow after a coronavirus outbreak.The company is warning “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from the supply chain as the pandemic forces more processing plants to shut down. Food experts are warning consumers about a meat shortage in just two weeks. They say only big box retailers will likely get enough, leaving shelves empty at grocery stores. We’re inching closer to a meat shortage. Prices are getting weird https://t.co/QzgRdSK7ZS— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 23, 2020last_img read more

Jurgen Klopp extends contract with Liverpool until 2024


first_imgLiverpool Football Club has announced that Jurgen Klopp has extended his contract with the club.The manager will extend his Reds tenure until 2024, ensuring he will remain at the helm for a further four-and-a-half years. Assistant managers Peter Krawietz and Pepijn Lijnders have also agreed to deals to continue working collaboratively alongside Klopp.The deal comes after four hugely successful years in charge of Liverpool for the 52-year-old and will ensure the long-term foundations for the team’s – and indeed club’s – development will continue well into the next decade.And Klopp has detailed his belief that the benefits for both parties of this agreement mean there is nowhere else in world football he’d want to manage.The German said: “For me personally this is a statement of intent, one which is built on my knowledge of what we as a partnership have achieved so far and what is still there for us to achieve.“When I see the development of the club and the collaborative work that continues to take place, I feel my contribution can only grow.“People see what happens on the pitch as a measure of our progress and although it is the best measure, it’s not the only measure. I have seen the commitment from ownership through to every aspect and function of the club you can think of.“When the call came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other; if anything, now I feel I underestimated that. It is only with a total belief that the collaboration remains totally complimentary on both sides that I am able to make this commitment to 2024.“If I didn’t I would not be re-signing.“This club is in such a good place, I couldn’t contemplate leaving.“I must also highlight the role of our sporting director, Michael Edwards, in this journey so far. His input and collaboration have been just as important as anyone else’s in getting us into a position to compete for the game’s top titles.“For anyone in football who aspires to compete in an environment where every element of the organization is at its very best – from the support of the supporters to the vision of the owners – there can be no better place than this.”Klopp was initially appointed as Liverpool manager on October 8, 2015.He arrived after seven highly successful seasons in charge of Borussia Dortmund, during which time he steered them to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final, among other honours.Prior to his stint with the Westfalenstadion club, Klopp was at the helm of FSV Mainz 05 and led them into the German top flight for the first time in their history in 2004, as well as into European competition one season later.During his first campaign at Anfield, Liverpool reached the finals of both the League Cup and Europa League, the latter after a memorable run in the tournament, but narrowly lost on both occasions.In 2016-17, Klopp navigated the Reds back into the Champions League for the first time since 2014, with a top-four finish secured with a final day victory over Middlesbrough at Anfield.The club marked their return to Europe’s premier competition the following term by storming their way to the final in Kiev, though there was heartbreak after a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the Ukrainian capital.Nevertheless, Klopp and Liverpool regrouped and, in 2018-19, the 52-year-old guided the club to their sixth European Cup as the Reds lifted the Champions League after a 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on an unforgettable night in Madrid.On the domestic front, the team produced a remarkable season in the Premier League, losing just one match and racking up a point tally of 97 – the best in the club’s history – narrowly missing out on the crown by a solitary point to Manchester City.So far this season, Klopp has overseen Liverpool’s surge to the top of the Premier League, where they currently sit eight points clear after an astonishing 15 wins from their opening 16 matches.The Reds’ defence of the Champions League remains ongoing following the 2-0 victory in Salzburg on Tuesday night, while the team will aim to add the FIFA Club World Cup to the UEFA Super Cup trophy they secured in August when they travel to the tournament in Qatar later this month.And today’s news means Liverpool and Klopp’s journey together will continue into the next decade after he agreed a contract that will extend his Anfield story until 2024. Source: www.liverpoolfc.comlast_img read more