Rural hospital hinging future on federal incentive

AP/Yahoo News, August 4, 2009

Facing a budget shortfall, the 47-bed hospital Sac-Osage Hospital in rural western Missouri is borrowing nearly $1 million to pitch its paper medical charts and purchase a state-of-the-art electronic health records system. The hospital is hinging its survival on what it hopes will be a $3 million windfall of federal incentives for hospitals that go digital. The hospital has already laid off staff, is operating on a $370,000 deficit, and is warning of dozens of deaths if local voters don't also approve a property tax to keep its emergency room open and ambulances running.


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