By Jamie Gardner
At a called meeting of the Baxley-Appling County Hospital Authority, held Thursday, January 5, members of the authority voted unanimously to secure a loan from a local bank in the amount of $1,700,000.00 to move forward with installation of Meaningful Use throughout the health care system. Meaningful Use is the term for electronic health records that the federal government has mandated (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandate) must be installed by hospitals and doctors across the country by 2013. The penalty for not installing the needed computer record system is lower reimbursements on Medicare and Medicaid and loss of reimbursement from the act for installing the system. According to system representatives, the amount of reimbursement could be reduced by 67 percent if the new system is not installed, which could be devastating to the system.