The Health and Human Services Department started off the month of December strong by creating a new grant program to distribute $235 million to communities that can serve as models for the use of electronic health records (EHRs). Through the Beacon Communities Program, 15 communities who have demonstrated high levels of digital health record usage will be awarded $220 million, with $15 million going to technical assistance and independent evaluation services. Applications will be available in the near future, and vendors should stay aware as the grants will pay for building and strengthening health IT infrastructures and health information exchange, including privacy and security measures.
Not to be outdone, President Obama announced on December 8 the allocation of $88 million to boost electronic health record adoption as part of nearly $600 million in funding targeted at community health centers. This is part of the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package funding. These EHR funds will go to help health care organizations digitize their medical records and upgrade their technology systems. And if vendors did not already have enough money to keep track of, on December 10 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $16 million in matching funds among six states and the US Virgin Islands to help them plan their systems and processes for the upcoming task of managing electronic health record incentive payments. This funding involves a separate American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding stream, which provides a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities. States receiving funds include
- California $2.48 million
- Georgia $3.17 million
- Idaho $142,000
- Montana $239,000
- New York $5.91 million
- Texas $3.86 million
- US Virgin Islands $232,000
Even though the holidays filled most people's minds towards the end of December, even the last day of the month can be one of the most important. Today CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator released its 700-page plan for "meaningful use" to improve healthcare value and quality by accelerating the use of health IT by doctors and hospitals. The plan calls for tens of thousands of dollars in financial incentives for doctors and hospitals meeting three stages of progressively more demanding goals for implementing health IT in their practices. The price tag for the incentives may be lower than originally estimated, surprisingly, falling from $34 billion to as low as $14.1 billion. Stage 1 will be the evolution of meaningful use, focusing on data collection, information sharing, and reporting measures. The end of 2011 will focus on structure information exchange and continuous quality improvement while Stage 3 will focus on support for "national high priority conditions" and population health.
Even though health care seems to be the hottest vertical in the United States right now, social services does have its share of movers and shakers. The Louisiana Department of Social Services in the midst of releasing five RFPs between January and September 2010 in support of their One DSS Modernization project. GovWin previously wrote a blog earlier in the month describing the project's direction and the RFPs that will be released: Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS); Customer Service Center; Document Imaging; Common Access Front End (CAFÉ); and Quality Assurance. One DSS focuses on the need to improve service delivery to external customers, clients and providers, and largely to improve work processes and tools for staff.
California's Department of Child Support Services is hoping to release a RFP in January 2010 for the maintenance and operations (M&O) services for their Child Support Enforcement (CSE) System. The CSE application was implemented in 2005, collecting and disbursing more than $2.3 billion annually in child support payments. The anticipated term of the CSE M&O Services contract is planned to be a minimum of three years with a maximum cost of $24 million per contract year.
Hawaii is looking to centralize their Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Databases in 2011. The Department of Health released a RFP for a Project Planning Contractor to come in and conduct a feasibility study in support of an Implementation Advanced Planning Document (IAPD) for a new system. Proposals are due by January 15, 2010.
Child development will be the major focus of Vermont's Department for Children and Families through 2011. DCF released a RFP for Business Analysis surrounding their Children's Integrated Services (CIS) data management system. Proposals are due by January 20, 2010. The winning vendor will develop a RFP for the implementation of the recommended solution. GovWin estimates a release date in early 2011.
Below are some notable contract awards that occurred in December:
Michigan- The Department of Community health has contracted with First Health Services Corporation in the amount of $20.5 million for Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) Services for the Medicaid Program.
West Virginia- The Department of Health and Human Services awarded a contract for an Imaging System for the Bureau for Child Support Enforcement to Northwoods Consulting Partners. Stimulus dollars will be utilized in this project.
Idaho- In the planning and replacement of the Pension Administration System (PAS), the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) awarded the Project Oversight contract to Provaliant Inc. The RFP for the system replacement is expected to be released in July 2010 when funding is approved.
North Carolina- The Department of Health and Human Services has contracted with Health Management Systems in the amount of $3.3 million for Third Party Liability (TPL) Recoveries, Cost Avoidance, and Credit Balance Reviews.
Montana- Deloitte has been chosen as the contractor who will provide fiscal services and enterprise architecture for the Department of Public Health and Human Services' Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Eligibility System.
December brings not only the end of the year 2009, but the end of a decade. Although States faced the biggest deficits seen since the Great Depression, as evidence in this blog, enormous amounts of funding continue to flow into the health IT arena. Want to get ahead of the game? Check out GovWin's recent report "Statewide Health Information Exchanges: A $910 MM Market by 2014" or register for our upcoming webinar in January, Statewide Health Information Exchanges: ARRA Brings Transformative Opportunities to the States.