WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced today that $13.8 million has been awarded to the Greater Cincinnati Health Bridge, Inc. to help health providers in a 16-county area utilize health information technology. It was awarded through The Beacon program, created through the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 which was included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
"This is good news for Ohio patients and Ohio medical facilities," Brown said. "Health information technology helps reduce medical errors and lowers health costs, while protecting the privacy of patients. By helping doctors and nurses consult with one another through technology, we will improve the quality of medical care offered across our state - particularly in rural areas. And by helping medical facilities adopt new information technologies, we will reduce medical errors and health costs."
"The Beacon program uses health information technology tools to link health providers and other community-wide resources in new and innovative ways," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "Under the Beacon program, communities first identify leading health problems that are unique to their community, develop innovative, health IT-related strategies, and work together through community collaborations to implement their strategies and track their performance."
The funds will be disbursed during a three year period and will be used to provide better clinical information and decision support tools to physicians, health systems, federally qualified health centers, and critical access hospitals. The program also includes a community collaboration aspect that provides patients and their families with access to data, knowledge, and tools to make informed decisions and to manage their own health and health care. The HITECH Act of 2009 included $2 billion for technical assistance, training, and demonstration programs supporting the adoption of health information technology, including electronic health records (EHR).
HealthBridge, Inc. and its partners will use its health information exchange program to advance new quality improvement and care coordination initiatives focusing on pediatric asthma, adult diabetes, and smoking cessation. Hospital and health system participants include: Mercy Health Partners, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, UC Health/The Health Alliance, The Christ Hospital, Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, TriHealth, Deaconess Hospital, McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital, Adams County Hospital, and Margaret Mary Community Hospital.
They will serve a 16-county area that spans across three states surrounding greater Cincinnati. Ohio counties that will participate in the program include Adams, Brown, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, and Warren.
HealthBridge - which represents nearly 95 percent of the hospital sector activity in the Cincinnati region - provides connectivity for more than 28 hospitals, 5500 physician users, 17 local health departments, 700 physician offices and clinics, as well as nursing homes, independent labs, radiology centers and others in our healthcare community.