03.13.2009

Monroe Clinic Thanks Baldwin Kohl for Federal Funds

(MONROE, WI) Monroe Clinic extends thanks to Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) for securing $423,000 in federal funds to help develop its Rural Health Technology Initiative. The funds were included in the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (245-178) passed February 25 by the House of Representatives.

“I’m acutely aware of the need for information technology (IT) upgrades in our medical facilities to improve patient care and efficiency and reduce cost,” said Congresswoman Baldwin. “President Obama and Congress have made investments in health care IT an important part of our economic recovery plan. These efforts are worthy of federal support and I’m proud to partner with Monroe Clinic to achieve these goals,” Baldwin said.

In 2003, Monroe Clinic, the leading provider of health care services in Green County, made a commitment to significant health care IT improvements including moving from a paper-based system to an electronic medical records system.

In addition to electronic medical records, information technology improvements will include enhancements to radiology and imaging services, and the prescription filling process.

Specifically in 2009, Monroe Clinic plans to convert to a new digital mammography system, which will help to better identify breast cancer in younger women. The procedure itself doesn’t change, but this method has been proven to be more accurate than current systems in place.

"With this new technology, our staff can more accurately diagnose women for this life-threatening disease, and have a greater impact on the future health of our patients,” said Dr. Mark Thompson, Chief Medical Officer at Monroe Clinic.

In FY 2008, Congresswoman Baldwin secured $284,030 for the Rural Health Technology Initiative project. These funds were used to implement the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACs). The system eliminates the need for large x-ray films, so films can be stored digitally, which reduces waste and storage space.

President Obama signed the Omnibus Budget Bill into law on Wednesday, March 11.