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Southern California Health Centers Receive $1.5 Million HHS Grant to Improve Health IT Adoption

August 22, 2016
by Heather Landi
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Health Centers Partners of Southern California, a consortium of community health centers in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, received a $1.5 million federal grant to improve patient care through the use of technology.

The organization will use the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant to improve the adoption of health information technology at its health centers. And, the renewal of funding enables Health Center Partners to continue its work of the past three years to strengthen member community health centers through health IT implementation, as well as meaningful use, data quality and reporting, health information exchange, population health management and quality improvement, according to an announcement from Health Center Partners.

“Participating health centers will leverage economies of scale, shared resources and infrastructure, and analytic expertise to improve patient care,” the organization stated in the announcement.

Health Center Partners is one of 50 Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs) in 41 states and Puerto Rico to receive funds which are designed to improve access to quality care, achieve cost efficiencies through the redesign of practices to integrate services, optimize patient outcomes and negotiate managed care contracts on behalf of participating health centers. Health Center Partners will receive $500,000 in HCCN funding annually for three years. This funding will support 12 participating community health centers across San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.

The HHS funding will supports Health Center Partners’ efforts to ensure quality primary care for medically underserved communities, according to Nicole Howard, executive vice president for Health Quality Partners, a Health Center Partners subsidiary that is responsible for the implementation of the grant.

HCCNs support health center participation in the Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan. And, the HHS funding enables participating health centers to continue to optimize certified electronic health record technology, enhance comprehensive, integrated data collection, analysis and reporting and meet the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs (meaningful use).

The funding also supports health centers’ efforts to implement evidence-based practices to improve clinical and operational quality, reduce health disparities and improve population health outcomes, as well as improve care coordination through increased utilization of San Diego's Health Information Exchange (HIE). And, the funding helps health centers utilize health IT to advance Patient Centered Medical Home implementation efforts

“Health Center Controlled Networks are a key tool in providing quality primary care to medically underserved communities," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a prepared statement. “By using these networks, individual health centers can work together to share resources, leverage buying power, and improve access to health information technology, leading to a better care experience for vulnerable populations.”




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