$450,000 federal appropriation
St. Mary’s Hospital and Clearwater Valley Hospital, Orofino, will share a $450,000 federal appropriation earmarked for technology to ensure state-of-the-art patient care. The funds will be used to help initiate an electronic medical records system and to purchase digitizers for their X-ray equipment.
The appropriation request was submitted by Idaho’s Congressional delegation including Senator Larry Craig, Senator Mike Crapo and Representative Butch Otter.
“I have followed the situation at both hospitals closely because improving health care is analogous to improving the overall infrastructure of our communities—infrastructure we all depend on across Idaho,” Senator Mike Crapo said. “The federal government has a role to play in improving health care in more sparsely populated areas of the West like North Central Idaho. We are seeing that commitment in partnerships that advance telehealth and compensation for rural hospitals, and we see it today in improvements in emergency and trauma care at Clearwater Valley Hospital that will benefit everyone in North Central Idaho.”
This marks the third federal appropriation for CVHC. The first was used to complete construction of their Emergency Room and the second funded the purchase of a CT scanner. The SMHC scanner was purchased with two generous private bequests.
“These appropriations are designed to improve patient care by providing our hospitals a means to purchase the latest in technology. Having an electronic medical records system between the two hospitals means that when a provider is in a satellite clinic or in one of our ERs they can immediately call up the patient’s record on the computer, know their allergies, past medical history, current prescriptions, lab results and other vital information and be ready to treat them immediately, “said Casey Meza, CEO, CVHC/SMHC. “We really appreciate the support of our Congressional delegation. They truly have the best interests of our area residents in mind.”
The funds may also be used to purchase digitizers for the hospitals’ X-Ray machines which would allow the X-Rays to be sent over the phone lines instantaneously to be read by radiologists around the world. Currently, the images are couriered to Lewiston or Moscow for readings.
The hospitals’ new CT scanners already have the capacity to send their images over the phone lines for immediate readings.
“Because our hospitals have partnered we will be able to share some of the digitizing equipment between our two facilities which will be a cost savings,” said Meza. “The USDA grant we received recently and the federal appropriations are helping us stay current with the technological advances within the health care field.”