EMHS Awarded $12.75 Million for Healthcare IT


(Brewer, Maine)- This morning, Vice President Joseph Biden and US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that EMHS is one of 15 communities nationwide included in the Beacon Communities program for healthcare information technology. According to a news release from the White House, EMHS will receive $12.75 million to, “Expand community connectivity, including long-term care, primary care and specialist providers, to existing Health Information Exchange and promote the use of telemedicine and patient self-management in order to improve care for elderly patients and individuals needing long-term or home care.”


EMHS president and CEO, M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, said the funds will allow EMHS to build on our solid foundation of collaboration and innovation throughout the northeast, and will be especially helpful in our ability to connect smaller hospitals and other health providers in greater Bangor to technology that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. Hood added that, "advancing the adoption of electronic health records and expanding connection to Maine’s statewide health information exchange will benefit a range of health providers that ultimately will make our healthcare delivery system more cost efficient and improve care for patients, especially those with chronic disease."


“EMHS has already invested heavily in research and healthcare information technology, and we are eager to help advance both in Maine,” Hood said. She also credited the many collaborators who helped to develop the program and expressed great enthusiasm for getting started.


Participating clinical care sites include The Acadia Hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Eastern Maine HomeCare, Community Health and Counseling Services, Ross Manor, Stillwater Health Care, Penobscot Community Healthcare, and St. Joseph Healthcare. Eastern Maine Community College will develop an innovative program to train health information staff to sustain the program in the future. HealthInfoNet (HIN), Maine’s health information exchange, will also play a key role as a goal of the program is to expand the number of providers sending and accessing HIN’s patient data. Multiple statewide leaders have committed to supporting the efforts of the project – including Maine Quality Forum, Quality Counts, the Office of the State Coordinator, Maine Primary Care Association, Maine Health Management Coalition, Maine Hospital Association, and others.


Watch the announcement from Vice President Joseph Biden and US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.




Background on the Beacon Communities Program:




The selected Beacon Communities will use health IT resources within their community as a foundation for bringing doctors, hospitals, community health programs, federal programs and patients together to design new ways of improving quality and efficiency to benefit patients and taxpayers. Each Beacon Community has elected specific and measurable improvement goals in each of three vital areas for health systems improvement: quality, cost-efficiency, and population health. The goals vary according to the needs and priorities of each community.


The Beacon Community awards are part of an overall $100 billion federal government investment in science, innovation and technology the Administration is making through the Recovery Act to spur domestic job creation in the growing health IT industries and create a long-term foundation for economic growth. These awards are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Today’s awards are part of the $2 billion effort to achieve widespread meaningful use of health IT and provide for the use of an electronic health record (EHR) for each person in the United States by 2014.


The $220 million in Recovery Act awards will not only help achieve meaningful and measurable improvements in health care quality, safety and efficiency in the selected communities, but also help lay the groundwork for an emerging health IT industry that is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs.


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