AUBURN — An electronic medical records management system for the jail has long been on the wish list of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office. Tight budgets have prevented the county commissioners from funding such a system.

The county jail might finally have the opportunity to move its medical records from paper to computer — free of charge.

County Administrator Larry Post and Sheriff Eric Samson told commissioners Wednesday the jail’s medical provider has agreed in concept to develop an electronic medical records management system.

Details still must be worked out, Post said.

The opportunity became available when the jail’s medical provider, Correctional Health Partners, which is expanding its service to another Maine county jail, had to send its Androscoggin County supervisor to help train those employees.

Androscoggin County Jail Administrator Jeffrey Chute agreed but asked for something in return — the electronic medical records system. 

While the jail’s arrest records are filed electronically, the county jail’s vast medical records are kept on paper. In addition to keeping files in the jail facility, the county maintains a massive paper filing system in the basement.

“Those records can never be thrown away,” Samson said.

He added that the new system would be more efficient by reducing the time and cost of maintaining records.

In response to a question from Commissioner Isaiah Lary, Samson said the system would not affect any compliance requirements with HIPAA .

In other business, commissioners appointed Commissioner Bonney Starbird of Auburn to represent the commissioners on next week’s State Claims Commission hearing.

The commission resolves disputes concerning compensation between the state and property owners when land is taken by the state.

Five people serve on the commission. The governor appoints two real estate appraisers and two lawyers. The fifth member is a county commissioner from the county where land was seized.


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