The Mississippi Press, April 13, 2011
It'll take $22 million in software alone to bring Singing River Health System into compliance with President Barack Obama's impending health care mandates, representatives told Jackson County supervisors before asking them to borrow a total of $37.5 million on behalf of the system. During this week's board meeting, system representatives told supervisors the largest portion of the money would go toward a sophisticated electronic medical record for patients, which would be capable of linking with other providers' records. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act encourages doctors and hospital systems to convert patient records to electronic format by 2014. If the system does not go electronic, beginning in 2015 the government will begin issuing penalties, mostly in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Singing River Health System, which operates hospitals in Pascagoula and Ocean Springs, already has technology that allows doctors to access records and even medical scans remotely, but the new software "really takes it to another level," said Chris Anderson, CEO of the health system.