In preparing for my departure from CRHC at the end of the month, I was struck by a comment from Greg Chaille’ who is retiring as President of the Oregon Community Foundation after 30 years: “You want to leave an organization when it is the strongest it has ever been.” In that case, this is a great time for a leadership transition at CRHC!
One of CRHC’s strongest, most impactful programs is our health information technology (HIT) work. Through our Technology for Healthcare Excellence (THE) Consortium, health facilities and providers have access to group purchasing, shared services, and technical assistance in implementing Health Information Technology (HIT). One component of this work is our role as a key partner in CO-REC, the Colorado Regional Extension Center. CO-REC is an initiative of CORHIO and is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As a CO-REC partner with six other partner organizations, CRHC provides no-cost assistance to primary care providers with adopting, implementing, and becoming meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHR).
CRHC’s Consortium team, led by David Ginsberg, HIT Senior Advisor, and Cari Fouts, Director of Communication & Development, is providing services to 270 healthcare providers in 41 Colorado counties, including 24 hospitals and 65 clinics. We are proud to have REC participants in every corner of the state from Craig to Durango, Cortez to Springfield, and Walsh to Julesburg. In addition to providing HIT services to rural providers, through our relationship with ClinicNET, we have the pleasure of working directly with urban and rural Community-Funded Safety Net Clinics.
Colorado ranks second in the nation for the number of hospitals participating with the REC, and CRHC is the only REC partner in Colorado currently working with hospitals. Once providers meet federal criteria as meaningful users of EHR most of them will be eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid incentive payments. Of the rural and urban safety net facilities CRHC is working with, 65 percent of the clinics and 33 percent of the hospitals have already implemented an EHR and anticipate upgrading to a certified version to meet federal requirements later this year. We are projecting that at least 25 percent of our REC facilities will complete the federal attestation process and receive incentive funding from Medicare in 2011!
When I checked in recently with CORHIO Executive Director Phyllis Albritton about CRHC’s work as a REC partner, she said “the Colorado Rural Health Center has provided services to Colorado’s rural communities that are unsurpassed. Through its partnership with CO-REC, CRHC is helping rural providers implement and ‘meaningfully use’ electronic health records. This will enable medical professionals in rural and underserved urban areas of our state to provide higher quality healthcare to many thousands of residents. CRHC’s commitment to helping rural providers achieve ‘Meaningful Use’ of their EHRs, while simultaneously addressing the unique challenges facing these providers, is greatly appreciated.”
Sharon Adams, Executive Director of ClinicNET, David Ginsberg and I recently met with Phyllis Albritton and other members of the CORHIO staff to discuss the facilitation of health information exchange (HIE) across Colorado’s healthcare safety net. From small rural hospitals to free clinics in downtown Denver, safety net providers have unique challenges and barriers such as budget constraints and lack of technological expertise. CORHIO has agreed to meet on an ongoing basis with CRHC and ClinicNET to address concerns and develop flexible solutions for safety net providers so that these important facilities will be able to successfully share patient information across systems through CORHIO’s HIE program.
For more information about how to participate in CO-REC services, HIT, or HIE, visit our website or contact Tracy McDonald, HIT Program Coordinator, at 303-832-7449 or email@example.com.