Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - $2 Million in ARRA Funds to Improve Health IT

UNITED STATES SENATE

WWW.SENATE.GOV


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CONTACTS:

Tara Trujillo -- 202-224-4334
Deirdre Murphy -- 202-228-5905

UDALL, BENNET APPLUAD $2 MILLION IN RECOVERY FUNDS TO IMPROVE HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN COLORADO
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Colorado Community Managed Care Awarded Grants to Boost Use of Electronic Health Records

Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, U.S. Senators for Colorado, applauded the announcement of $2 million for two health information technology initiatives in Colorado. The funds are part of $27.8 million in grants announced this week by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless received $1,865,625 to support electronic health records (EHR) implementation. The Coalition's Stout Street Clinic has been delivering healthcare for the homeless in downtown Denver for almost 25 years, seeing more than 12,000 patients last year.

The Colorado Community Managed Care Network (CCMCN) received $250,000 to devise plans to use existing EHRs to improve patient health outcomes. CCMCN is a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers serving 62 clinics in Colorado. Their patients are primarily medically underserved, low-income population.

"By creating electronic health records, we can take great strides toward cutting health care costs and reducing medical errors -- two things that are critical as we work to improve health care in our country," Senator Udall said. "This grant will help two Colorado organizations serving the most vulnerable patients -- people who may not have a regular doctor -- improve health outcomes. This is a good beginning, and I will continue to work to ensure we can bring our health record system into the 21st century."

"This funding will help these organizations take advantage of 21st century medical technology that will lead to lower costs and better outcomes for the thousands of patients they serve every year," said Bennet. "But there are still many providers in Colorado and across the country that have not updated the technology they have. As we work towards health care reform, we need to make electronic medical records a priority and help bring the system into the 21st century."
The Health Resources and Services Administration of HHS has received $2 billion through ARRA to expand health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program. To date, more than $1.3 billion of these funds have been awarded to community-based organizations across the country. HRSA-supported health centers treated 17 million patients in 2008, 40 percent of whom have no health insurance.