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ECRMC observes National Medical Records Week

November 05, 2001|STAFF REPORT

The 30 employees of the medical records department at El Centro Regional Medical Center will observe National Medical Records Week with a series of activities, including a staff luncheon in a local restaurant and a potluck breakfast in the department, at which two local physicians will be honored.

Medical Records Week is Nov. 4-10.

The luncheon will be sponsored by Medquist, headquartered in Irvine, which is under contract with the hospital for transcribing all hospital records relative to the treatment accorded patients.

Sandra Saunders, director of medical records, said the breakfast will give the department the opportunity to honor Dr. Jose Rocamora, chairman of the department, and Dr. Mohamed Suliman, chief of staff.

Saunders said other businesses have contributed employee recognition items that will be presented during the week. Donors include Bactes Imaging of San Diego, File Source and Quadramed of Irvine, Pioneer Van and Storage, The Allen Group, Green's Jewelry and Pioneer Printing, all of El Centro.

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Medical records is responsible for the maintenance, availability and privacy of health records. New privacy laws recently adopted by Congress and scheduled to be fully implemented by 2003 puts the onus on the department for the protection of patient privacy regarding access to health information.

The number of records involved is indicated by some statistics quoted by Saunders: 2,400 patients a month treated in the emergency department, an average of 18 admissions per day, 15 to 20 surgeries per day, about 100 deliveries a month in obstetrics, as well as an extensive outpatient load.

Medical Records Week, or Health Information and Technology Week as it is officially designated, is spearheaded by the American Health Information Management Association, which "recognizes the increased complexity of protecting patients' privacy while managing access to, and release of, information about patients and other healthcare consumers."

As the department head, Saunders has been designated as the El Centro hospital's official privacy officer as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which has been passed by Congress. The legislation is an outgrowth of privacy concerns that have grown as technology increases access to health information.

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