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Maine, Others Receive Electronic Health Record Sharing Grant

February 7, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Center for Integrated Health Solutions awarded the State of Maine and HealthInfoNet, which operates its statewide health information exchange (HIE), a $600,000 grant to help support electronic sharing of health records among behavioral health providers and general medical providers in Maine.  The CIHS is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). Maine was one of only five states to be selected along with Kentucky, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.

 The grant will provide 25 behavioral health care organizations and 200 individual Maine providers with new ways to securely share medical records including use of the health information exchange (HIE). With patient consent, behavioral health providers will be able to share information electronically with general medical care providers also involved in their patients’ care.

 “It may sound simple, but sharing information between these two communities of care has proved very difficult. Because behavioral health care has historically been separated from general health care services many electronic health record systems have evolved without integrating mental health and substance abuse information,” Dennis King, CEO of Spring Harbor Hospital, an inpatient mental health facility in Southern Maine, said in a statement.

 Under the grant, HealthInfoNet says it will build the technical infrastructure needed to facilitate secure electronic health record sharing.This, the organization says, will include “connecting” behavioral health providers to the statewide HIE and developing a secure provider only email service.

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