The eHealth eQuality program was designed to support Behavioral Health (BH) and Long-Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) providers in Massachusetts in the adoption of interoperable Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. The effective use of EHRs helps improve the quality and efficiency of health care.
Patients transition between healthcare settings to obtain the full spectrum of care they need. It is important that BH, LTPAC and other providers adopt EHRs and electronically communicate with each other when they treat the same patients. For instance, BH and Primary Care providers work together when patients struggling with depression have difficulty with chronic illness management, and LTPAC and hospitals partner for post-operative care when patients transition to rehab services. Effective communication leveraging Health IT facilitates providers to share vital information, avoid drug interactions, and improve the continuum of care for their patients.
Most BH and LTPAC providers are not eligible to participate in other EHR incentive programs and may lack access to other resources to procure and implement EHRs. As a result, they were slower to adopt EHRs. According to MeHI’s 2014 Provider & Consumer Health IT Research Study, non-affiliated BH and LTPAC providers in Massachusetts have an EHR adoption rate that is far below the rate of Primary Care and other specialty providers.
MeHI's program assisted BH and LTPAC providers in the procurement and implementation of interoperable EHRs and in the effective use of these technologies. This use facilitates these providers joining other providers in using Health IT to enhance patient care coordination, ease transitions of care, and advance healthcare in Massachusetts.
- Education and resources to support EHR strategic planning;
- Evidence-based guidance for adoption of EHRs;
- Incentive funds for eligible organizations to integrate Health IT;
- Assistance on how to navigate the EHR procurement process;
- Support for building a foundation to digitally coordinate care; and
- Guidance for transacting on the MA Statewide HIE - the Mass HIway.
The eQuality Incentive Program (eQIP) provided funding and guidance to eligible Massachusetts BH and LTPAC organizations to adopt and implement interoperable EHR systems.
According to MeHI’s 2014 Provider & Consumer Health IT Research Study, non-affiliated BH and LTPAC providers in Massachusetts have an EHR adoption rate that is significantly lower than the rate of Primary Care and other specialty providers. eQIP therefore specifically provided funding to BH and LTPAC providers to incentivize their use of Health IT and to enhance the quality and efficiency of healthcare, while containing costs.
eQIP supported BH and LTPAC providers through a milestone-based maturity model to integrate them into the statewide Health IT infrastructure. Integration helped providers improve care coordination, ease transitions of care, and advance health care in Massachusetts. This also enabled them to align with the health reform regulations.
The Behavioral Health Round I Solicitation was issued in late 2014 and MeHI awarded 18 non-profit across the Commonwealth, which will total nearly $1 million if the awardees reach each of the program milestones.
The Behavioral Health Round II Solicitation was issued in April 2015 and MeHI awarded 7 additional providers, which will total $363,000 if the awardees reach each of the program milestones.
The Behavioral Health grantees, selected in two funding rounds, manage a total of 179 facilities in 64 cities and towns across Massachusetts.
The eQIP Grants Solicitation for LTPAC was issued in early 2015 and MeHI awarded 14 post-acute care organizations, representing 32 Massachusetts facilities and 4,446 beds. The awardees will collectively receive nearly $1 million provided they achieve each of the program milestones. A press release announcement was published in Oct, 2015.