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PA Health Information Exchange Awards $3.8M in Grants

Pennsylvania's health information exchange has enabled many healthcare organizations to seamlessly exchange data through multimillion dollar grants.

By Sara Heath

The Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority has awarded over $3 million in funding to help hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organizations connected to the state’s health information exchange (HIE), Pennsylvania’s Patient and Provider Network (P3N).

 According to a public statement, the Authority awarded nearly $3.5 million in total to HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Clinical Connect HIE, and Mt. Nittany Medical Center, which owns and operates Mount Nittany Exchange.

P3N also awarded nearly $300,000 to long-term post-acute care centers to connect to the HIE. These grants will help providers without EHRs at Mt. Nittany Medical Center and HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania to connect to the EHR while they transition their patients to other HIE members.

P3N received the funding for these grants from CMS, which runs the EHR Incentive Programs that require participants to seamlessly exchange health data in order to receive incentive payments. By extending this funding, CMS is helping Pennsylvania-based providers better participate in those programs, and putting them on the path to successful attestation.

In addition to better enabling successful meaningful use attestation, these grants will ideally accomplish the following:

  • Helps providers deliver higher quality and more efficient care, particularly through better care coordination for patients covered by Medicaid, including those added under Medicaid expansion.
  • Supports provider participation in private-sector HIOs by offsetting connection costs.
  • Incentivizes HIOs to join the P3N, a precondition for receiving funding.
  • Supports rapid movement toward the critical mass of participation in eHIE that will make such participation part of a new, higher standard of care, and support various care reform efforts currently underway across the Commonwealth.
  • Defrays up-front costs for individual providers to join an HIO, thus helping to achieve meaningful use and satisfy obligations under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

Overall, these grants will help providers in Pennsylvania deliver better care to their patients, ultimately improving their overall health and wellness.

According to the Authority’s acting executive director Kelly Hoover Thompson, these grants will support care coordination and better informed care through easily-exchanged health data.

“The benefits of eHIE to patients and providers are significant,” said Kelly Hoover Thompson, Acting Executive Director of the Authority. “This grant program is critical to helping providers connect to HIOs, and HIOs connect to the P3N.”

“As more HIOs join the P3N along with their connected providers, more patients will experience better coordination of their care, faster access to their clinical results, and reduced redundancy of medical tests,” Thompson said. “The bottom line for patients, providers, and the healthcare system will be improved patient safety and healthcare quality.”

P3N has seen tremendous growth in the past few months. Just at the end of March, the HIE added several new member health information organizations (HIOs), including Mount Nittany exchange.

This addition was critical because it was yet another step forward for the HIE to expand to five major HIOs by the end of the year.

“This is an enormous milestone on the road to secure statewide connectivity in Pennsylvania,” said Authority Chairman David F. Simon. “With five HIOs expected to be part of the P3N by the end of this year, this will bring to fruition the true promise of using electronic health information exchange to improve patients’ health through better coordination of care, real-time access to clinical results, and reduced redundancy of medical tests.”

“The Authority’s P3N is coming together at a critical time for Pennsylvania’s citizens,” Simon continued. “Through dedicated, focused staff work supported by a firm strategic foundation established by the Authority Board over the past year, the Authority is ideally positioned to move connected healthcare to the next level for all Pennsylvanians.”

With the addition of these grants, P3N will ideally be able to expand even further, helping them to make HIE ubiquitous across the entire state.




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