ONC Announces $1 Million in Grant Awards to Support Health Information Exchange and Care Coordination Across the Entire Health System

Thomas A. Mason | September 18, 2015

The health ecosystem is comprised of many different inputs that impact health decision making: social, diet and exercise, environmental factors, the economy and the health care system. Within the health care system, which accounts for just 10 percent of health determinants, there are many important contributors from primary care physicians and surgeons, to nursing homes, behavioral health professionals, home health care organizations, public health departments, emergency medical services, social services, and many others.

All of these providers work every day to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive approach to individual and community health. However, some providers are not eligible for incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, so they haven’t received any funds to promote EHR adoption.  Nonetheless, it is important they receive support to ensure the health information they gather flows seamlessly for better individual health decision making.

Today, we announced the names of ten (10) community programs that will support care providers who aren’t able to receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs. These programs will collaborate with others in their communities to securely share and use electronic health data with providers and individuals across the health ecosystem. These important investments should help with the flow of health information to individuals no matter the care setting in which they receive care. These awards will also foster an interoperable learning health system—truly linking the traditional health care system with community and social support— resulting in healthier people and communities.

The ten programs are:

  1. AltaMed Health Services Corporation
  2. Community Health Center Network, Inc.
  3. Georgia Health Information Network
  4. National Healthy Start Association
  5. Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS)
  6. Peninsula Community Health Services
  7. Rhode Island Quality Institute
  8. The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
  9. Utah Department of Health
  10. Washtenaw County-Community Support and Treatment Services

The overarching goal is for these community programs to complement the more than $38 million in awards that were recently announced to improve care coordination and health information exchange and interoperability. All of these programs will continue to support the framework created by the Office of the National Coordinator in the draft Interoperability Roadmap.

This new investment will help increase adoption and use of electronic health information in a manner that is appropriate, standardized, secure, timely, and reliable for both senders and receivers.

It will be through these innovative community projects that awardees will collaborate with providers who are not receiving Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program funds.  These efforts will support the goals of a nationwide learning health system where data is harmonized across organizations and available to the right people at the right time and in the right place to create healthy individuals and communities.