Tennessee Receives $11.6 Million Federal eHealth Grant
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | 9:02am
Funds Will Help Support State's Health Information Exchange Network
NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen today announced Tennessee has received approval for an $11.6 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology that will help connect existing health information exchanges in the state and lower the cost of sharing electronic health information between these entities.
The funds, made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help Tennessee further its efforts to establish a statewide health information exchange to facilitate the exchange of electronic information. Under the Recovery Act, each state is required to submit detailed plans that explain how they will govern, design and launch the exchanges in their state. The plans must be approved by the Office of the National Coordinator before states can move forward or receive Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) funding.
“Tennessee has been successful in working with local and regional health information exchanges to facilitate the adoption of early stage eHealth strategies,” Bredesen said. “This grant will help expand these existing initiatives and advance our efforts to increase the sharing of electronic health information across the state and with regional and national partners.”
The announcement comes as Governor Bredesen is hosting the National Governors Association meeting of the State Alliance for eHealth in Nashville with Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. The State Alliance for eHealth provides a nationwide forum to identify health information technology policies and best practices that lead to solutions to issues related to the exchange of health information.
In announcing the award, the Office of the National Coordinator highlighted two existing regional eHealth initiatives - the MidSouth eHealth Alliance in Middle Tennessee and CareSpark in Upper East Tennessee – that have been exchanging data since as early as 2006. The MidSouth eHealth Alliance began exchanging clinical information in 2006 and has expanded to provide data to health care organizations in Memphis and surrounding counties. CareSpark allows organizations in Tennessee and Virginia to access a community health record and share immunization and other health information within its regional health network.
“This grant will help fill in the gaps that exist in the state’s current eHealth network and connect the private and public efforts that have been launched to share electronic health data,” said Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz. “Tennessee is among the first states to receive this grant funding and is recognized as a leader in its approach to eprescribing, lab and continuity of care information. This grant acknowledges the strides we’ve made as a state and provides resources to help expand those efforts.”
Tennessee’s statewide health information exchange framework includes:
- Core services, such as an electronic provider director and master facilities index that allow health care providers to locate, positively identify and determine how it can securely exchange information with one another,
- Enterprise services, which help organizations meet federal and state criteria for meaningful use of certified electronic health record technologies, and
- Value-added services, which are additional services that can be included in the statewide health information network.