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NIU center to assist in electronic health records

August 5, 2013

Logo of IL-HITRECThe Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has awarded a grant to the Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center based at Northern Illinois University to assist with adoption of electronic health records for Medicaid providers in Illinois (outside the 606 ZIP code area).

The grant provides up to $2 million in funding to IL-HITREC to assist with increasing the awareness, adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR).

NIU’s College of Health and Human Sciences is a co-recipient of the grant and will assist in its implementation.

“This grant is a direct result of our success in already helping 1,300 Illinois priority primary care providers reach meaningful use as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) signed into law by President Obama in 2009,” said Roger Holloway, co-executive director of IL-HITREC.

The HITECH Act authorizes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide a reimbursement incentive for physician and hospital providers who demonstrate the meaningful use of an EHR, “and it is crucial that all Illinois providers participate,” Holloway said.

Roger Holloway and John Lewis

Roger Holloway and John Lewis

“With this new grant, HFS is requesting that we help identify and support providers throughout the state who have not yet registered or attested for EHR incentive payments, or who have encountered obstacles for some reason,” said John L. Lewis, senior research scholar at NIU and grant co-principal investigator.

“IL-HITREC will assist Medicaid providers with the process of registering, attesting and verifying qualification in the EHR incentive program, as well as develop education and recruitment materials.”

The HFS grant award was announced mid-July and the scope of work is still being defined.

“IL-HITREC is developing an outreach/education plan and has been meeting with HFS officials to coordinate our efforts,” Holloway said.

IL-HITREC is creating materials to reach eligible providers and support staff at rural health centers, hospitals, federally qualified health clinics, professional organizations and other interested groups.