FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, HEALTH COMMISSIONER FARLEY ANNOUNCE FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDING TO HELP PHYSICIANS ADOPT STATE-OF-THE-ART ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD TECHNOLOGY
$22 Million Grant will Expand the City’s Successful Efforts to Modernize Physician Practices and Promote Preventive Care in Communities that Need it Most
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced a $21.7 million grant, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to expand on the City’s successful efforts to facilitate the adoption and use of electronic health records at medical practices, primarily those located in medically underserved areas. Since 2007, the City has been equipping hundreds of medical practices with prevention-oriented electronic health records, which help improve the quality of care doctors give their patients by providing efficient access to medical records, prompting doctors with information about needed preventive services and permitting doctors to monitor the performance of their practices. The new grant will be administered by the Fund for Public Health in New York, and is one of 32 such Federal grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a part of the Federal stimulus program. New York City’s electronic health records program, the Primary Care Information Project, served as a model for the Federal initiative and is the nation’s largest community network of providers using electronic health records.
“For more than two years, our efforts to promote the use of electronic health records have helped put prevention first and deliver life-saving care,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our program has become a national model, demonstrating how health care systems can and should be reformed to prevent illness, rather than just treat patients after they’re sick. I want to thank President Obama, and our entire Congressional delegation, for helping us ensure that more doctors – especially those serving low-income patients – have information-age tools to improve patient care.”
“Electronic health records can save lives by giving doctors the information they need to promote health and manage chronic conditions,” said Commissioner Farley. “The new REACH program will assist doctors in transforming the way medicine is practiced and greatly expand the number of doctors using electronic health records – and the number of patients receiving higher-quality health care.”
The new Federally-funded program, called the Regional Electronic Adoption Center for Health (REACH) will work with medical practices and community health centers in all five boroughs to facilitate the adoption and use of electronic health records. In additional to helping health care providers select and implement appropriate software, REACH will help providers adjust their office workflows and enhance the quality of care they provide to patients. Some 2,500 New York City physicians – most in medically underserved areas – have already joined the City’s electronic health network. The new grant will enable thousands more to do the same, while offering one-on-one, quality-improvement training to help physicians track their patients’ health. Monitoring practitioner performance is a key component of the Federal program. Physicians who make the best use of their technology may be eligible for incentive payments from Medicare or Medicaid.
Electronic records may transform health care in the same way information technology has revolutionized other industries. In addition to improving efficiency and preventing medical errors, electronic records help physicians monitor and manage at-risk patients. In partnership with the Fund for Public Health, the City’s Primary Care Information Project now runs several grant-funded projects, all aimed at helping New York City meet ambitious objectives defined by the City’s Take Care New York initiative, designed to help all New Yorkers live longer and healthier lives. These projects include the recently-announced Panel Management program, which uses health records to identify patients and proactively manage their care, as well as Health eHearts, which offers incentives to physicians who use electronic health records to keep patients healthy. Physicians interested in joining the REACH program can visit www.nyc.gov or call 311 for more information.
In order to maintain accountability and transparency in the City’s use of stimulus funding, all Federal stimulus dollars allocated to New York City can be closely tracked at www.nyc.gov on the City’s “Stimulus Tracker.” The website provides an overview of all stimulus dollars awarded to date and provides detailed information about each stimulus-funded project, including the number of jobs created or retained by each project per quarter. Funding can be tracked from initial allocation through project completion and an interactive map plots the location of all stimulus projects throughout the City.
Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
Jessica Scaperotti/Erin Brady (212) 788-5290