Over $1.3 Million in Grants Awarded to Massachusetts Behavioral Health Providers for Technology Adoption Efforts

December 21, 2015
Source: 
Massachusetts eHealth Institute

Includes 25 Grantees that Manage 179 Facilities in 64 Mass. Municipalities

WESTBOROUGH, MA – December 21, 2015 – MeHI, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech, has awarded over $1.3 million in grants to 25 behavioral health providers to advance their use of health information technology, or Health IT, designed to improve patient care, reduce healthcare costs, and ensure appropriate privacy and security protection of behavioral health patient data. The awards were made as part of MeHI’s eQuality Incentive Program (eQIP), an initiative that provides grants for critical technology enhancements to both behavioral health and long-term/post-acute care organizations. The behavioral health grantees, selected in two funding rounds, manage a total of 179 facilities in 64 cities and towns across Massachusetts.

The grantee organizations serve many vulnerable populations, many of whom receive costly services from multiple providers across the care spectrum. Through investments in technologies such as electronic health records and health information exchange, behavioral health providers can better communicate with other providers, treating the same individuals, for improved care management.

“Integration of behavioral health care and medical care is a key priority for the Commonwealth, and MeHI’s investment in EHRs for behavioral health providers will help them share information with other healthcare providers,” said Laurance Stuntz, Director of MeHI, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech. “We look forward to supporting these providers, learning from them, and continuing our support for technology that helps improve the quality of care delivered across the state in all healthcare settings.”

Organizations awarded through eQIP include behavioral healthcare facilities that provide direct care to patients with  mental health or substance abuse issues, such as Family Continuity, a non-profit mental health and social services agency with facilities in Eastern and Central Massachusetts.

“The eHealth eQuality Incentive Program comes at a key time in our agency’s growth,” said Nina MacLean Robinson, MS, Contracts Manager at Family Continuity. “This grant will help us to implement an Electronic Health Record, providing us with better clinical, financial, and operational oversight.”

In April 2015, MeHI made the first round of awards, granting $973,500 to 18 providers statewide. In the second round, completed in late October, seven additional providers received $363,000 in awards. These organizations manage 53 facilities in 28 cities and towns across the Commonwealth:

eQIP - Behavioral Health - Second Round Grantees

Organization

Total Funding Amount ($)

# Facilities

Communities Served

Amesbury Psychological Center, Inc.

$33,000

1

Amesbury

The Bridge of Central Massachusetts

$66,000

20

Fitchburg, Framingham, Gardner, Littleton, Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough, Southbridge, Webster, Westborough, Worcester (11)

Casa Esperanza, Inc.

$33,000

4

Boston (Roxbury)

Family Continuity Program, Inc.

$49,500

6

Hyannis, Lawrence, Northbridge (Whitinsville), Peabody, Plymouth, Worcester (6)

Fellowship Health Resources, Inc.

$66,000

12

Fall River, Falmouth, Dennisport, Hyannis, New Bedford, Wareham, West Harwich (7)

Wediko Children's Services

$49,500

1

Boston  

Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc.

$66,000

9

Boylston, Gardner, Leicester (Rochdale), South Grafton, Southbridge, Templeton (Baldwinsville), Worcester (7)

Second Round - Total

$363,000

53

 

The behavioral health provider organizations selected in each round will receive payments upon reaching select milestones that demonstrate increasingly advanced use of health IT systems, totaling up to $1,320,000 to the 25 providers. The amount each grantee organization receives will vary depending on the size of the organization and the attainment of key milestones, with maximum awards for each grantee ranging from $33,000 to $82,500.

According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, with the “expansion of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, it is estimated that one in six of the newly eligible Medicaid population will present indicators of behavioral health disorders,” a fact that highlights the need for increased communication between behavioral health organizations and other healthcare providers. According to MeHI’s 2014 survey of Massachusetts providers, behavioral healthcare providers lag significantly behind other sectors in the adoption of health information

The eQIP grants are funded via key investments made by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through Chapter 224, the 2012 healthcare cost containment law. As the current eQIP grant funds are rolled out to awardees into 2016, MeHI will seek new funding routes to identify, engage with, and incentivize behavioral health organizations to employ 21st Century technologies in their day-to-day work. MeHI is currently researching and devising these new programs with the hope of rolling them out in 2016, building off of the investments made during 2015.

 

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About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute:

MeHI, or the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is the state's entity for healthcare innovation, technology, and competitiveness and is responsible for advancing the dissemination of health information technology throughout Massachusetts, including the deployment of electronic health records systems in healthcare provider settings and connecting them through the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit http://mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth.

 

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