The initiative is intended to foster broader adoption and use of EHRs and support national efforts to reduce health disparities affecting minorities by providing health IT education to providers and incorporating technology into their practices.
"The Office of Minority Health is pleased to support this effort to show how electronic health records can be used by providers who practice in underserved communities," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE. "We congratulate Emdeon for helping to create this innovative program, and hope this initiative will stimulate more efforts to extend the use of EHRs, especially in smaller practices within underserved communities that face special challenges in acquiring or implementing this technology."
"Emdeon is committed to making the benefits of this technology available to physician practices in underserved communities," said Miriam Paramore, senior vice president of clinical services for Emdeon. "Connecting providers enables clinical information exchange and will help drive better quality and outcomes for patients."
Data from the 2005-2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medicare Care Survey show that EHR adoption is lower among providers serving Hispanic patients who are uninsured or rely on Medicaid, and is lower among providers serving uninsured, non-Hispanic black patients than among providers serving privately insured, non-Hispanic white patients.
Emdeon is donating Emdeon Clinician™ licenses to 100 healthcare providers who practice within medically underserved areas and/or healthcare provider shortage areas, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). For a period of one year from the date that the qualified healthcare provider contracts with Emdeon, the license fee will be waived. Other partners in the New Jersey program include the New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC), the federally designated Regional Extension Center (REC) for the Garden State established by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) through a grant from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), as well as the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Latino Community.
NJ-HITEC Executive Director, Bill O'Byrne adds, "NJ-HITEC is New Jersey's REC funded by ARRA and ONC to help 5,000 primary care providers in the Garden State to select accredited health EHR systems; to employ them in the meaningful use and delivery of timely high quality healthcare; and to earn the incentive funding. We are required by ARRA and HITECH to give priority to providers that serve the uninsured and underinsured populations. The demographics in New Jersey are such that we believe that we are perfectly suited to partner with the Office of Minority Health to aggressively and productively deploy the EHR systems in these targeted areas. NJ-HITEC is also aware of the challenges that providers in these areas face and we know that New Jersey is a place where great good will result from this program. We would also like to thank Emdeon, one of NJ-HITEC participating vendors, for its support and commitment." The HIMSS Latino Community focuses on the Health IT needs of a rapidly growing Hispanic/ Latino market with the goal of helping Latino professionals, providers and vendors gain the necessary resources to deliver state-of-the art healthcare technology solutions to the entire Latino community.
A healthcare provider who wishes to participate in this initiative must practice in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) designated by HHS; have an Internet connection and use an electronic billing system; be a small practice group of one to five providers or a Federally Qualified Health Center within the MUA and/or HPSA; be eligible to receive meaningful use incentives, as defined by the HITECH Act; and complete an initial application and submit monthly reports.
"HIMSS is pleased to be part of this collaboration," said Luis Belen, Co-Chair of HIMSS Latino. "As we work to advance and improve healthcare delivery within the Latino community and to all underserved areas across the nation, this kind of public-private partnership can bring change at the community level where it is needed most."