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Senators: Rural Hospitals Hobbled by Digital Divide

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 17, 2013

"Those numbers are a moving target. When we looked at 2011 data, only 4% were meeting Stage 1 Meaningful Use. From that dipstick to the next year it went to 44%. So we would expect that when we looked at who is close to pushing over on the Stage 1 criteria there is a huge number there."

"You can't get that mired down in what those snapshot-in-time numbers mean. What we are seeing is a trending all in the right direction, with some ongoing small and rural gaps, although that seems to be closing. But we are not out of the woods yet," Painter said.

Back in Washington, several members of the committee, including Sen. Pat Roberts, (R-KS), made jokes about Mostashari's trademark bow tie and suggested that he and other federal bureaucrats have little or no idea of the challenges that rural providers face as they grapple with meaningful use.  

"My concern is I don't think we are getting the word west of Highway 81 in Kansas…," Roberts said. "It's like Paul Harvey used to do with Page 1 and Page 2. Page one and I will be back in just a minute. Well you've got Phase 1 and Phase 2. If we could just pause and make sure that most of the rural providers know what is going on."

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4 comments on "Senators: Rural Hospitals Hobbled by Digital Divide"


David Hold (7/19/2013 at 2:31 PM)
Senators are right on target I presume that the EMR vendors are very happy to listen to the good doctors comments. We are focusing on EMR which is important but not as important as preventive care. Most of these rural hospitals are barley breaking even or losing money to provide needed care and what we do add to their burden

KG (7/18/2013 at 11:15 AM)
I think there is increasing lack of civility and focus on issues/solutions in the senate hearings. What does Dr. Mostashari's bow tie have to do with a discussion on problems faced by rural providers? I would have much preferred the senators to focus on specifics and details of the problems faced by rural providers to back up their claims and discuss possible solutions.

Larry Rine (7/18/2013 at 10:23 AM)
I only have antidotal data, but from calling on these hospitals an EHR vendor for several years, there are very few rural hospitals in Kansas, Montana and other states that haven't made an EHR [INVALID]ion. It is important to note that the process from installation to attestation takes almost a year. Stage Two requirements are not that much more challenging than Stage One. The personal criticism of Dr. Mostashari, was classless.