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$2.35 Million Grant to Accelerate Massachusetts Health Information Exchange

The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative recently announced 32 collaborative projects that will receive HIway implementation grants of up to $75,000 each. These implementation grants will assist 80 health care organizations across the Commonwealth in connecting to the statewide health information exchange (HIE), the Mass HIway, enabling them to improve patient care and reduce costs.

“We are excited to award these grants to health care organizations across the Commonwealth,” says Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “We congratulate the recipients on this achievement, and for their commitment to using the Mass HIway and health information technologies, ushering in a new era for patient care.”

Recipients were awarded grants based on their ability to build upon existing improvement efforts that impact care quality, costs, or population health. Types of collaborative projects receiving funding include the following:

• a large facility using the HIway to manage heart failure patient care;

• coordination between care facilities and patient care coordinators;

• an ambulance service using the HIway for prehospital care coordination for the homeless; and

• an acute care organization using the HIway to share discharge summaries to skilled nursing facilities and home health organizations.

In 2012, MeHI and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services launched the statewide HIE, the MassHIway, allowing for secure electronic health information to be transmitted between health care providers and organizations. MeHI works to advance the use and interoperability of EHRs by supporting adoption of the Mass HIway, the state’s HIE.  

Part of the Mass HIWay Last Mile Program, the implementation grants are designed to accelerate connections to the Mass HIway by shifting existing processes away from paper-based exchanges and those using proprietary interfaces, ultimately demonstrate measurable improvements in care quality, population health, and cost containment through use of HIT. The Last Mile Program is funded through the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology.  

“The long-term participation of health care organizations throughout Massachusetts is key to the success of the Mass HIway and realizing the goals of health care reform,” says Laurance Stuntz, director of MeHI. “The projects that will move forward with the aid of these grants bring us a significant step closer to achieving our shared mission.”

“I would like to add my congratulations to these 32 grantees,” says Senator James T Welch, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “Having the technology to connect our health care providers and organizations is an important component of providing improved care at lower costs.  I look forward to seeing the impact of these improvements on patient care.”

Awarded projects include the following:
Grantee: Baystate Health, Inc
Collaborators: Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, Mercy Medical Center Center/Sisters of Providence Health System, RiverBend Medical Group, Baycare Health Partners
Description: Care summary exchanges to improve care transitions of heart failure patients
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Berkshire Health Systems
Collaborators: Baystate Medical Center, Suburban Internal Medicine
Description: Cardiac care referrals from a regional hospital to a tertiary care center
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Center for Human Development, Inc
Collaborators: Caring Health Center, Community Health Center of Franklin County, Holyoke Health Center
Description: Integrate primary and behavioral health care through information exchange
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Central MA Independent Physician Association
Collaborators: Sunita Godiwala MD, FAAFP, FABGS; George Abraham MD, MPH, FACP, Jewish Healthcare Center
Description: Exchange clinical information between primary care providers and a skilled nursing facility
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Clinical & Support Options, Inc
Collaborators: Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Cooley-Dickinson Hospital
Description: Transfer clinical and BH information between behavioral health providers and the acute care hospitals
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Community Healthlink, Inc
Collaborator: Family Health Center of Worcester
Description: Exchange coordination of patient care with primary and behavioral health care providers
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Cutchins Programs for Children & Families
Collaborator: Executive Office of Health & Human Services
Description: Exchange public health information between behavioral health counseling center and Department of Public Health
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: The Dimock Center
Collaborators: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Boston, eClinicalWorks
Description: Care and discharge summary exchange from two academic medical centers to a community health center
Amount: $73,750
Grantee: EasCare Ambulance Service, LLC
Collaborator: Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
Description: Exchange prehospital care information between ambulance service provider and primary care providers at community health center
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Harbor Medical Associates (HMA)
Collaborators: South Shore Hospital, Allscripts
Description: Send continuity of care documents from ambulatory medical group to acute care hospital
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Hebrew Senior Life/Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Collaborators: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Atrius Health
Description: Improve efficiency and accuracy of patient documentation from acute to post acute to primary care
Amount: $75,000

Heywood Hospital
Collaborator: Gardner Visiting Nurses Association
Description: Exchange discharge summary and lab results between hospital and VNA
Amount: $70,875
Grantee: Highpoint Treatment Center
Collaborators: Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Netsmart Technologies
Description: Exchange enrollment information from behavioral health treatment center to Department of Public Health
Amount: $55,143
Grantee: Holyoke Health Center
Collaborators: Holyoke Medical Center, River Valley Counseling Center
Description: Exchange referrals and clinical info between community health center, hospital, behavioral health center, and other community providers  
Amount: $73,989
Grantee: Home Health VNA
Collaborators: Lawrence Gen Hospital, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Pentucket Medical
Description: Exchange discharge summary between hospital emergency department and VNA
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center
Collaborators: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, Inc
Description: Send community health center referrals via a Direct-enabled EHR to an academic medical center
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Life Image, Inc
Collaborators: Boston Children’s Hospital, Atrius Health
Description: Exchange imaging information for trauma patient between acute care hospital and primary care providers
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: MetroWest Accountable Healthcare Organization
Collaborators: MetroWest Medical Ctr. St., Vincent Hospital, MetroWest Physician Services, St. Vincent Medical Group
Description: Patient referral communication and care coordination via continuity of care documents
Amount: $75,000

Milford Regional Health Systems
Collaborators: Medway Country Manor, Care Tenders
Description: Transmit patient discharge information from hospital to skilled nursing facility and home health agency
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: MRN Corp/Sippican Healthcare Center
Collaborators: US Laboratories; Whittier Healthcare Holdings. II, MobilexUSA
Description: Lab and radiology ordering and billing from a long-term care facility to commercial service providers
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Network Health
Collaborator: Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
Description: Exchange care plan information on high-risk patients between a health plan and community health center
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: North Adams Regional Hospital
Collaborator: Orthopedic Association of Northern Berkshire
Description: Discharge summaries/continuity of care documents from hospital to specialist; referrals from specialist to hospital
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: North Adams Regional Hospital
Collaborator: Northshore Berkshire Pediatrics
Description: Send continuity of care documents from the NARH VNA to NB Pedi; NB Pedi send referrals to VNA for home services patients
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Overlook Visiting Nursing Association
Collaborator: Harrington Hospital
Description: Transmit discharge information from hospital to home health care agency
Amount: $65,673
Grantee: Pinnacle Health Management, LLP
Collaborators: Taunton Nursing Home, Morton Hospital
Description: Exchange for behavioral health patients transitioning from acute to long-term care
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Salter Healthcare
Collaborator: Winchester Hospital
Description: Discharge information from a hospital to long term care facility and from long term care facility back to hospital as needed
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Seniorlink via Caregiver Homes
Collaborator: Senior Whole Health
Description: Data exchange between care management provider, long-term services and supports, and health plan (dual-eligible elders)
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: South Shore Hospital
Collaborator: Atrius Health
Description: Emergency department admission alert by medical center to primary care providers triggering return of care summary
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Trustees of Noble Hospital
Collaborator: Pediatric Associates of Hamden County
Description: Lab orders transmitted from pediatric practice to hospital
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: UMass Memorial Health Care
Collaborator: Milford Regional Medical Center
Description: Exchange lab results between acute care hospital and academic medical center
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: UMass Memorial Health Care
Collaborator: CVS Caremark MinuteClinic
Description: Two-way exchange of patient care data between retail health care sites and an academic medical center
Amount: $45,000
Grantee: Winchester Highland Management, LLC
Collaborators: Winchester Hospital, Winchester Home Care, Excel Orthopedics
Description: Transmit referrals from specialty to hospital and discharge information from hospital to home care
Amount: $75,000  

Source: Massachusetts Technology Collaborative