HomeTown Health, LLC, Key Community Partner with GA-HITEC, Sees Meangingful Use Goals Achieved in Georgia in 2016

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HomeTown Health, LLC provides vital support and involvement as a Key Community Partner with GA-HITEC, who achieved Meaningful Use Goals in Georgia in 2016.

(this partnership) has allowed us to provide a great amount of support, resources and education to Georgia hospitals and primary care physicians through these years of immense change

The Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC), part of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), with the aid of its key community partners including HomeTown Health, LLC, serves as Georgia’s only federally endorsed health information technology regional extension center. As of April 7, 2016, GA-HITEC has reached 100% target eligible primary care providers and 52/54 of its eligible critical access and rural hospitals to achieve Meaningful Use (MU) in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs for Stage 1 Criteria. Working with community partners statewide, GA-HITEC has provided education and outreach to over 4,000 eligible primary care physicians and 56 critical access and rural hospitals to adopt and implement EHR technology through April 2016. HomeTown Health, LLC served as host to live webinar training events, online education, GA-HITEC Online Training Center, monthly GA-HITEC newsletters, and live training events around the State for participants since the launch of GA-HITREC, later renamed GA-HITEC, in 2010.

Kristy Thomson, HomeTown Health COO, reported “The HomeTown Health and GA-HITEC partnership has allowed us to provide a great amount of support, resources and education to Georgia hospitals and primary care physicians through these years of immense change. We are thankful for the opportunity to help Georgia providers achieve meaningful use, and we will continue to provide this support to rural hospitals.”

“Through our quest for Health IT interoperability, we have provided the Georgia medical community increased patient engagement and improved quality health care through the use of technology,” says Dominic Mack, MD, GA-HITEC’s Principal Investigator and newly named Director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. “The hard work of our team will provide for better clinical outcomes, as well as improved population health outcomes for the people of Georgia.”

Through this work in the Regional Extension Center (REC) program, GA-HITEC has assisted members in receiving over $80 million in incentive payments through the CMS EHR incentive programs. According to CMS, these incentive payments are part of a broader effort, under the HITECH Act, to accelerate the adoption of health information technology and use of qualified EHRs. To date, according to The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), nearly 140,000 primary care providers have implemented EHR technology with over 110,000 successfully attesting to meaningfully using the technology.

“We are proud of the work that has been accomplished over the past six years in Georgia in collaboration with our partners throughout the state to advance health IT and interoperability with the adoption and implementation of EHR technology,” says Carmen Hughes, Executive Director, GA-HITEC. “This growth is beneficial to both physicians in managing practice operations and also patients in improving access and quality of care.”

As the national REC program is slated to sunset in late 2016, GA-HITEC continues to develop activities in support of CMS’s HIT initiatives, including Stage 2 and Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, Health Information Exchange (HIE), Clinical Practice Transformation, along with other Value-Based reporting efforts.

About GA-HITEC
The Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC) is Georgia’s only federally endorsed health information technology center focused on providing technical assistance to providers throughout the entire Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation process and beyond, including assistance with the reporting required to qualify for and receive CMS EHR Incentive Program payments. GA-HITEC's broad and practical Health Information Technology (HIT) expertise assists providers with improving the quality of care for patients and maximizing overall productivity through the meaningful use of EHR systems. For more information about GA-HITEC, email: info(at)ga-hitec(dot)org or, phone 1-877-658-1990.

About HomeTown Health
HomeTown Health, LLC is a network of rural hospitals, healthcare providers, and best practice business partners who collectively pursue ways to help its membership survive in the environment of constant change in reimbursement, operations and technology. The mission of HomeTown Health is to ensure that rural healthcare is preserved at the local community level wherever possible and that a continuum of care is available to the rural populations. For more information, visit http://www.hometownhealthonline.com.

About HTHU
HomeTown Health University (HTHU) offers continuing education through CEU accredited online healthcare courses to over 8000 students throughout hospitals, physician offices and healthcare businesses nationwide. Discover the many CEU accredited online healthcare courses available on HomeTown Health’s online healthcare university at http://www.hthu.net. HTHU offers online CEUs for hospital continuing education and training, as well as for physician offices, long term care facilities, schools, and other healthcare organizations and associations through over 300 accredited online healthcare courses and accredited online healthcare certifications.

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Meghan Williams