‘Health ecosystem’ gets $1M bump for information exchange and care coordination

Ten community programs across the country will receive grant money totaling $1 million to help foster the increased exchange of health information and improved care coordination in their communities. These grants from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), which will aid providers who are not eligible for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, are part of a larger program dedicated to improving care coordination, health information exchange, and interoperability as part of the framework established by the ONC’s interoperability roadmap.

Awards

The recipients of the grants will work with providers in their communities that are not participants in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Programs and which, therefore, have not received any funding to support EHR adoption. Specifically, the grants are meant to help the community programs to “collaborate with others in their communities to securely share and use electronic health data with providers and individuals across the health ecosystem.” The 10 community program grant recipients are: AltaMed Health Services Corporation; Community Health Center Network, Inc.; Georgia Health Information Network; National Healthy Start Association; Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS); Peninsula Community Health Services; Rhode Island Quality Institute; The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System; Utah Department of Health; and the Washtenaw County-Community Support and Treatment Services.

Other funding

The issuance of these grants comes shortly after the ONC announced that $38 million in grant money would be available for community-driven improvements for care coordination. The $1 million in grants to the 10 community programs is meant to complement the existing care coordination made possible by previously awarded grants, which were directed towards 20 recipients under three cooperative agreement programs (see Grants awarded to improve coordinated health information sharing, Health Law Daily, July 29, 2015).

Roadmap

In the beginning of 2015, the ONC announced the release of an interoperability roadmap, which proposed actions for public and private stakeholders to advance the health information technology (IT) ecosystem and to link care delivery systems with communities using the flow of electronic information (see Long awaited roadmap for health IT odyssey unveiled by ONC, Health Law Daily, January 30, 2015). The grants to the 10 community programs are a part of this framework set up by the ONC roadmap.