Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the selection of 15 communities across the U.S. that will serve as models for widespread use of health IT through the Beacon Community program. A total of $220 million in ARRA funds will go toward improving care quality, safety and efficiency, and creating new jobs.
The selected communities each have elected specific and measurable goals in the areas of quality, cost-efficiency, and population health. For example, in Tulsa, Okla., a community dealing with an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes will utilize the grant to help 1,600 physicians and other providers participate in a new community-wide health information system that will help them better monitor and improve care transitions as patients move from one care setting to another.
Other communities will use their Beacon Community awards to provide better control of blood pressure for diabetic and hypertensive patients, improvements in care coordination and chronic disease management, reductions in preventable emergency department visits and re-hospitalizations, reductions in health disparities, better rates of immunization for children and adults, and better adherence to smoking cessation and appropriate cancer screening guidelines. The Beacon projects are expected to initially create dozens of new jobs in each community paying an average of $70,000 per year for a total of 1,100 jobs up-front, while accelerating development of a nationwide health IT infrastructure.
Additionally, Beacon Communities will be expected to access existing federal programs that are working to promote health information exchange at the community level.
The 15 Beacon communities are:
- Community Services Council of Tulsa (Okla.) $12,043,948
- Delta Health Alliance, Inc. (Stoneville, Miss.) $14,666,156
- Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (Brewer Maine) $12,749,740
- Geisinger Clinic (Danville, Pa.) $16,069,110
- HealthInsight (Salt Lake City) $15,790,181
- Indiana Health Information Exchange (Indianapolis) $16,008,431
- Inland Northwest Health Services (Spokane, Wash.) $15,702,479
- Louisiana Public Health Institute (New Orleans) $13,525,434
- Mayo Clinic Rochester, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Rochester, Minn.) $12,284,770
- Rhode Island Quality Institute (Providence, R.I.) $15,914,787
- Rocky Mountain Health Maintenance Organization (Grand Junction, Colo.) $11,878,279
- Southern Piedmont Community Care Plan, Inc. (Concord, N.C.) $15,907,622
- The Regents of the University of California, San Diego $15,275,115
- University of Hawaii at Hilo (Hawaii) $16,091,390
- Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, Inc. (Buffalo, N.Y.) $16,092,485
For more information about Beacon Communities, visit http://Healthit.hhs.gov/Programs/Beacon.