Use of telemedicine in small county ERs approved
By Becky Brewster
The Culberson County Hospital District met in Regular Session on May 29, 2019. Andy Freeman, CEO of Preferred Management Corporation, reported that the Texas Legislature has approved House Bill No. 871 that provides that “a health care facility in a county with a population of less than 30,000 may satisfy a Level IV trauma facility designation requirement relating to physicians through to use of telemedicine medical service” with certain guidelines. This will alleviate the requirement that a physician with special competence in the care of critically injured patients be on-call and promptly available within 30 minutes of the request. Presently, Culberson Hospital is operating under a waiver that allows for the use of telemedicine in the ER.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), a “Basic (Level IV) Trauma Facility provides resuscitation, stabilization, and assessment of injury victims and either provides treatment or arranges for appropriate transfer to a higher level designated trauma facility; provides ongoing educational opportunities in trauma related topics for health care professionals and the public; and implements targeted injury prevention programs.” In November, 2017, DSHS reported that there were 191 Level IV Trauma Facilities, of which Culberson Hospital was one. Governor Abbott signed the bill on May 28, 2019 with an effective date of September 1, 2019.
Freeman also reported that Senate Bill No. 170 was forwarded to the Governor for signature. This bill provides that Medicaid services in rural hospitals be reimbursed on a cost basis methodology. With the advent of Managed Care Organizations that handle the Medicaid claims for the State, the reimbursement rate has dropped to approximately 20% of the actual cost to provide the services. Freeman stated that there have been “huge steps this year in getting the State to recognize the shortfall in rural communities.”
The Board reviewed the final schematic design for the façade improvements and parking lots, and authorized the project architects, Rees Associates, to proceed with the final design phase of the project. Judy Blazek, Project Manager, reported that Acme Brick has the rock that was purchased for the original clinic project stored on site in El Paso. If the rock meets the specifications for this new project, the District would pay the balance owed on the rock and accept delivery.
Rick Gray, Hospital Administrator, reported that Culberson Hospital went live with its Electronic Medical Records this week. This comes after a period of parallel testing and staff training to make sure everything worked properly. This will eliminate the need for paper medical records.
In other business, the Culberson County Hospital District:
Approved the consent agenda.
Acknowledged Tobacco Settlement payment for 2019.
Learned that the TDA Grant Completion report has been submitted for the hospital beds.