Assemblyman Boyland: HEAL NY Grants Will Improve Patient Care in Health Centers
April 30, 2009

Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. (D-Kings) wants residents to know that New York State is providing $60 million in HEAL NY grants to patient-centered medical homes in order to help convert medical files from outmoded paper systems to an interoperational, electronic medical records system. Grant applications are due on June 15, 2009.

“Having one interconnected, easily accessed health-record system will be beneficial to all New Yorkers on many levels,” Assemblyman Boyland said. “An electronic system will be more efficient, it’ll promote better patient care, and it will also be much more cost-effective.”

The Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers, or HEAL NY, was adopted in 2005 and implemented in 2006 (Ch. 58 of 2005).

Patient-centered medical homes include physician practices, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, long-term care providers, physical therapists and other providers. The funding will improve the coordination and management of health care for more New Yorkers by putting patients’ medical records into an electronic system that can be accessed by health care providers within, among and between patient-centered medical homes.

The new paperless system will be especially helpful in improving patient care in rural and underserved areas, Assemblyman Boyland said.

“To treat patients most effectively, health care providers need access to patients’ complete, up-to-date health records,” Assemblyman Boyland said. “By putting medical records into one interoperational electronic system, doctors and clinicians can access complete records immediately and make better informed decisions about patients care.

“From a care standpoint, this system will give New Yorkers better access to their health records and promote preventive, patient-centered, high-quality care. It will reduce medical errors and also reduce costly redundant tests. From an operational standpoint, the system will reduce the cost of care over time by streamlining and modernizing the system and shrinking costs resulting from medical errors.”

The program is administered by the state Department of Health (DOH) and the Dormitory Authority of New York State. The task of coordinating health information and creating the electronic health-record system goes to the DOH’s Office of Health Information Technology Transformation (OHITT), which was established in 2007.

The latest round of HEAL NY grants will bring the total investment to date in New York’s Health Information Infrastructure to approximately $360 million, including $160 million in funding through the HEAL NY program, approximately $200 million in private sector matching funds, and $40 million in other state and federal programs. The federal stimulus plan also allocates $19 billion nationwide to improve medical technology.

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