HealthInfoNet, the Portland, Maine-based non-profit that operates the statewide health information exchange (HIE), was recently awarded a three-year grant to connect the VA Maine Healthcare System, comprised of the medical center located in Augusta and 11 outpatient clinics, to the health information exchange.
The grant, awarded by Health Research and Services Administration (HRSA), includes $300,000 for the first year and HealthInfoNet expects a similar award amount for years two and three. More than 12 percent of Maine residents are veterans, fifth highest per capita population in the country.
According to HealthInfoNet, because Maine is primarily a rural state, access to VA facilities can be challenging for veterans. Furthermore, until now, VA providers are unable to access information from private providers using the HIE, adding to the challenge. Once this new connection is in place, VA providers will have access to the statewide HIE and veterans will be able to choose to share their VA records with private providers also using the HIE.
“We’re thrilled to be connecting Maine’s VA providers with the HIE,” said HealthInfoNet CEO, Devore Culver. “We believe this funding will allow us to demonstrate a model for interoperability between the VA and private health providers that can be replicated across the nation.” Maine’s Congressional delegation, whom all sent in letters of support for the project, issued a joint statement applauding HRSA’s award decision.
The accomplishments for HealthInfoNet are nothing new. Back in May, the organization announced that it signed every single acute-care hospital within the state to connect to the query-based HIE.