Articles

New York Awards $105 Million in Health IT Grants

"Electronic health records will begin to repair our fragmented delivery system by making sure that accurate patient information is quickly available so that we can improve health care quality and efficiency."

by / March 31, 2008

Governor Paterson (L) and State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, MD. announce $105 million in medical technology grants.

New York Gov. David A. Paterson announced Friday that $105 million in grants have been awarded to 19 leading community-based health information technology (IT) projects. The grants are central to the state's strategy to ensure that clinical information is in the hands of clinicians and their patients to help guide medical decisions and support the delivery of more coordinated, patient-centered care. Grants range from $1 million to $10 million each.

"Electronic health records will begin to repair our fragmented delivery system by making sure that accurate patient information is quickly available so that we can improve health care quality and efficiency," said Paterson. "Electronic health records represent a cornerstone in the transformation of our health care system. They will boost our efforts to improve the delivery of preventative care while maintaining appropriate safeguards to protect patient privacy."

The recipients will build a technical infrastructure that will support health care improvements for all New Yorkers, while ensuring the privacy and security of health information. The projects selected the following clinical goals to guide the technical implementation ensuring that clinicians gain upfront, consistent value from the vastly improved availability and use of health information, including:

  • Medicaid: Linking Medicaid data to interoperable electronic health records so that clinicians may electronically receive a patient's Medicaid-reimbursed prescriptions, Medicaid eligibility and recertification period, as well as Medicaid's preferred drugs. This will allow clinicians to prescribe medications electronically and make informed decisions about appropriate and lower-cost therapeutically equivalent medicines at the time the prescription is ordered. It will also provide clinical decision support alerts, such as drug interactions, to improve care and reduce costs.
  • Public Health: Linking electronic health records to the New York State Immunization Registry to ensure seamless reporting of immunization records to improve children's health. Embedding prevention measures in electronic health records for reporting to clinicians and public health officials will help transform New York's health care system from a focus on disease care to one focused on prevention. Exchanging information among public health officials and providers to achieve automated and streamlined public health monitoring and reporting will reduce costs.
  • Patients: Helping New Yorkers have greater control over and access to their personal health information by connecting patients and clinicians through personal health records and other patient-focused tools.
  • Quality of Care: Implementing quality measurement and reporting capabilities, which includes shared infrastructure among payers and providers to collect and assess information about performance and outcomes to support new prevention and outcome-based reimbursement models.

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., said: "We congratulate all the projects and look forward to working with them to achieve these important clinical goals. The best evidence is that, when used as intended, interoperable electronic health records support clinicians in making fact-based decisions so medical errors and redundant tests can be reduced and the coordination of care can be improved."

Privacy and Security

Consumer advocate Katie O'Neill, an attorney at the Legal Action Center of New York, has been working with the Department of Health (DOH) as part of a federal-state Health Information Security and Privacy Collaborative project. Ms. O'Neill said: "Ensuring that policies protect patient privacy and strengthen security in an interconnected health care environment is a key priority of New York's health IT agenda. An important aspect of this agenda is ensuring that New Yorkers learn how their health information can be shared so that they can make an informed decision whether to have their information accessible via on-line health networks to support improvements in health care quality, affordability and outcomes."

Project awards are for a two-year contract period. A summary of the 19 awards is listed below:

  • Bronx Regional Health Information Organization (
  • Bronx RHIO) in the New York City region, including 3,200 physicians, 11 hospitals, four long term care/home providers and eight health plans. Total award: $9.9 million.
  • Brooklyn Health Information Exchange (BHIX) in New York City, including 4,464 participating physicians, seven hospitals, 17 long-term care and home care providers and five health plans. Awarded two grants. First award: $9.9 million. Second award: $2.8 million.
  • Champlain Valley Physicians Hospitals Medical Center in the Northern Region, including 62 physicians in two practice sites. Total award: $1.8 million.
  • Greater Rochester Regional Health Information Organization in the Central Region, including 225 physicians, five hospitals, four long-term care providers and six health plans. Awarded two grants. First award: $6 million. Second award: $6.7 million.
  • Health Information Alliance of Syracuse in the central region, including 74 physicians at nine sites. Total award: $1.8 million.
  • Health Information X-Change of NY (HIXNY) in the northern region, including 877 physicians, ten hospitals, five long-term care providers and three health plans. Total award: $4.6 million.
  • Hudson River Healthcare in the Hudson Valley region, including Open Door Family Medical Centers with 110 physicians at 18 sites. Total award: $1.2 million.
  • Interboro RHIO in New York City, including 150 physicians at four community health center sites. Total award: $7.7 million.
  • Long Island Patient Information eXchange on Long Island, including 802 physicians, 21 hospitals, 16 long term/home care providers and one health plan. Total award: $9.2 million.
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in New York City, including 540 physicians and 200 small physician offices sites. Total award: $7.7 million.
  • Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation on Long Island, including 5,703 physicians, two hospitals, 47 long term/home care providers and two health plans. Total award: $3.9 million.
  • Southern Tier and Central New York HealthLink in the central region, including 1,200 physicians and 12 hospitals. Total award: $7.8 million.
  • Sunset Park Health Council in New York City that including 400 physicians at 18 community health center sites. Total award: $4.6 million.
  • Taconic Health Information Network and Community Regional Health Information Organization (THINC RHIO Inc.) in the Hudson Valley that including 490 physicians, 14 hospitals, nine long-term care providers and six health plans. Awarded two grants. First award: $7.3 million. Second award: $4.8 million.
  • Western New York Clinical Information Exchange (WNYCIE) in the western region including 60 physicians, 16 hospitals, one long-term care provider, and four health plans. Total award: $5.2 million.
  • Columbia Memorial Hospital in the Northern region comprised of 38 physicians across 11 sites. Total award: $1.03 million.


Lori M. Evans, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Health Information Technology Transformation, which is in the DOH, will coordinate the work of the projects in achieving important milestones as part of New York's health IT strategy. Evans said: "In order for electronic health records and new quality tools to realize their potential, they must be interoperable. Achieving interoperability is as much a function of trust and collaboration among stakeholders and helping clinicians learn how to use information as the technology. Interoperability is necessary for compiling the complete experience of a patient's care and ensuring it is accessible to clinicians and patients as the patient moves through various health care settings. It is also critical for cost-effective, timely and standardized data aggregation and reporting for quality measurement, public health reporting, and clinical research."