Sunday, May 17, 2009

Help for Small Practices

The California HealthCare Foundation is funding a two year $1.5 million initiative called “Small Practice eDesign” to develop a prototype community infrastructure and tools. The funding will support the adoption, integration, and meaningful use of EHRs for small practices.

The project will develop, refine, and test a model to support EHR implementation in up to 20 primary care practices in Tulare County a federally designated primary care shortage area. This county has the highest prevalence of diabetes in California (9.9% of the population) and is one of the poorest counties in the nation.

Up to 20 primary care practices in the county will implement EHRs in two phases beginning with 5 to 8 sites (Wave 1) and followed by 12 to 15 sites (Wave 2) and will combine web-hosted software, centralized implementation, and technical support. The program will work through a local trusted intermediary organization, the Foundation for Medical Care of Tulare and Kings Counties with the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative providing much of the health information technology implementation support.

Small primary care practices participating in the initial pilot will receive funding to purchase selected software and test the curriculum developed to support workflow redesign and data driven quality improvement processes. The selected software combines practice billing, and revenue management with an electronic health record along with a patient portal.

Two information technology vendors were selected for the program. One vendor Athenahealth will support revenue cycle management and the other vendor e-ClinicalWorks (eCW) will support EHR functionality. The medical practices will directly contract with the vendors to purchase any needed hardware and participate in a learning community designed to complement workflow redesign and technology implementation activities.

In addition to demonstrating successful adoption of EHRs by small practices in Tulare County, the initiative will then work with other communities to replicate these approaches and develop a sustainable delivery network and along with business models.

Applicants that intend to submit a proposal must submit an “Intent to Apply” by May 29th. The submission of an “Intent to Apply” is optional and if not submitted does not disqualify applicants from submitting a full proposal in June. A Bidders Teleconference will be held on May 26th at 2 pm Pacific Time. The call number for the teleconference is 1-866-270-7427 (access code *5873134*)

Proposals must be received by June 17, 2009. For more information on proposal submissions, contact Faith Wu at