CWRU School of Medicine Receives $8 Million From OHIPApr 15th, 2010 | By ehrstimulus | Category: Health Information Exchange, Regional Extension Centers
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine has received nearly $8 million in federal stimulus money from the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP), the state designated entity for health information exchange development. That funding will position the school as a regional extension center (REC), allowing it to help 1,765 healthcare providers in Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties advance the use of health IT in their practices.
The CWRU School of Medicine is one of seven RECs in Ohio established by OHIP and made possible by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). An eighth REC was awarded directly by the federal government to HealthBridge, a not-for-profit health information exchange serving Greater Cincinnati and surrounding areas.
The federal and state initiative is providing smaller primary care practices with an incentive to early adoption of health information technology.
“Electronic health records tend to be financially out of reach for private practitioners and small practices,” said Julie Rehm, senior associate dean of the CWRU School of Medicine and associate vice president of strategic initiatives for CWRU. “If healthcare providers adopt early they are eligible for additional reimbursement from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services until 2011. After that, the reimbursement declines and penalties kick in starting in 2015.”
The REC endeavor, as directed by the federal government, is targeted towards primary care providers, specifically, physicians—MDs or DOs who are family physicians, general internal, pediatric or OB/GYN, and other primary care providers such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, or physician assistants with prescriptive privileges and practicing in one of the previously mentioned areas.
The CWRU School of Medicine will provide administration and management to multiple contr
actors whose roles will vary by expertise but overall will help providers select products and provide training on how to use the technology to its fullest potential in order to improve patient care. This includes providing workforce support, implementation and project management, practice and workflow design, vendor selection, privacy and security best practices, progress towards meaningful use, functional interoperability and health information exchange.
The CWRU REC has a number of stakeholders, including University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. In addition, the entities likely to participate in the CWRU REC include Kaiser Permanente, Medical Mutual of Ohio and CareSource.
“The School of Medicine is committed to improving the health of our community,” said Pamela B. Davis, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs, CWRU. “We believe that HIT is a key tool in healthcare reform and we look forward to partnering with independent healthcare providers to encourage quick adoption of HIT. Once enabled, HIT provides a two-fold benefit: 1) improving patient care, for example, through electronic alerts that notify healthcare providers of a patient's need for annual testing e.g., mammograms, and 2) by lowering healthcare costs by reducing redundant testing.”
The Case Western Reserve REC is expected to begin work sometime this month.
“Success for the CWRU REC will be measured in three ways,” said Rehm. “First, we must meet the milestones and metrics that are being asked of us by the federal government. Second, we must enable the earliest adoption possible which will allow primary care providers to pull in the maximum amount of federal dollars from reimbursements. And third, we must improve the quality of care through the utilization of this technology which will ultimately improve the health of Clevelanders.”