Cumberland Times-News

May 8, 2013

Nursing homes win tech grant

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Two local nursing homes will benefit from state and federal grants aimed to improve the exchange of medical information between patients, doctors and nursing home staff.

The new technology will improve patient care, said Troy Raines, administrator at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Ex-tended Care. The center has formed a partnership with Egle Nursing and Rehab Center.

“What it is going to do is allow us to collect health information and share it through a computer interface,” Raines said.

While electronic health records already exists, the new technology will allow sharing those records much simpler and quicker, meaning patients won’t have to travel as much.

The Chesapeake Re-gional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) is Maryland’s designated health information exchange.

The statewide grant is $517,000, to be divided between four independent nursing homes around Maryland.

The funds, distributed through MHCC’s competitive Challenge Grant program, will be used to facilitate the adoption and use of health information technology among nursing homes to support improved coordinated care between hospitals and nursing home facilities, a press release from Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown said.

“We continue to invest in expanding health IT in our state because it is a critical tool in our efforts to help make sure providers have the right information about the right patient at the right time, which will reduce costs and save lives,” said Brown. “With today’s announcement, Maryland continues to lead the way by ensuring that our nursing homes are working in conjunction with local hospitals to deliver the best care possible to our seniors while reducing preventable errors and hospital admissions.”

Through the grant program, nursing homes were invited to apply for funds for various uses, including the purchase, license and/or implementation of an electronic health record system for one or more of their facilities, or financial support for other critical clinical information or recordkeeping systems.

As a key component of each project, awardees will use CRISP’s encounter notification service to alert their facilities’ physicians and care coordinators in real-time when one of their patients has an encounter with a Maryland hospital, such as an admission, discharge or transfer.

“We are pleased to support basic investments in health IT by the state’s independent nursing homes,” said David Horrocks, president of CRISP. “Particularly, since nursing homes are not eligible for federal incentives for adopting electronic records, this funding will offer them an opportunity to invest in health IT.”

Awardees included Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Worcester County, Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center in Frederick County, King Farm Presbyterian Retirement Community in Montgomery County and the Lions Center.

Since late 2010, nearly 1,500 doctors have moved forward with electronic health records through CRISP’s Regional Extension Center Program.

About 4,000 doctors and 42 of the 46 acute care hospitals in Maryland have received Meaningful Use Incentive payments through the an electronic health record incentive program.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.