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CCMSD takes action on records system

The board of trustees for Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) has officially moved to replace its electronic medical records system (EMR), which has been causing serious issues with cash flow and is deeply unpopular with staff.

The board met in special session on Friday to discuss the potential contract. The majority of the meeting was spent in executive session to allow board attorney Kara Ellsbury to provide legal advice on the terms of the contract and any other legal issues associated with it.

Following the executive session, the board voted to enter into an agreement with Cerner, the EMR system selected in the fall through an extensive vetting process that was undertaken by a steering committee made up of employees and led by Wesley Davis, DNP.

The vetting process, said Davis, was fully inclusive because the EMR system impacts “everyone from the top down”.

The committee was asked to look for a new EMR system because the current one, CPSI, was proving a bottleneck for productivity, preventing medical providers from getting patients through the door quickly enough and requiring more administrative work than employees felt was necessary.

As described by Dr. Heith Waddell, the system was causing miscommunications and keeping nurses away from patient care because they were, “bogged down by [the system] wanting to know what someone’s shoe size is”.

The EMR system was also believed to have causes serious billing issues that the board heard at December’s meeting had tripled the accounts receivable to around $3 million, leaving the district short of cash on hand. This, in turn, led to CEO Micki Lyons requesting a transfer of $500,000 from the trustee account, which contains the district’s mill levy money, to cover payroll and other costs until the issue could be resolved.

This situation prompted the board to schedule a special meeting to take action on the EMR system and start the ball rolling on the process of replacing it. All board members voted yes on the motion, except for Trustee Sandy Neiman, who abstained.

Ellsbury is now awaiting the final contract with Cerner, which she will review and then present to the board for final approval.

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