New York Announces $105.75 Million in Grants Available for Interoperable Health Information Technology Plans

Community-Based Proposals Sought to Improve Health Care Quality, Lower Costs

Albany, N.Y. (September 25, 2007) - New York is seeking applications for $105.75 million in grants to promote health information technology (IT) through community collaborations to improve health care quality, affordability and better patient outcomes.

The new community-based systems of health information exchange and electronic health records will include strong privacy protections for patients, and should increase patient safety and help reduce medical errors and costs by providing patients' medical histories to aid diagnoses and preventive duplicative testing.

Through a competitive grant process, the state Health Department will invest in projects which advance interoperability – those clinical, organizational and technical capabilities that are developed together and are essential to realizing the expected benefit of health IT to improve the quality and efficiency of health care in New York.

The strategic focus of the grant program is to create an environment and make substantial efforts to develop and implement New York's health information infrastructure in a way that harnesses and uses information, and enables clinicians to learn how to consistently realize the benefits from a vastly improved availability of health information.

"Today, medical records are paper-based, which makes them prone to errors and unavailable to all health-care providers who see a patient," said state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "Our vision is interoperable electronic health records that will give doctors and nurses facts at their fingertips as they care for patients. Better data collection for quality measurement and population health improvement will help the clinician community and all stakeholders, as well as the Health Department, explore new models of care delivery and approaches to quality-based reimbursement that will lead to better care – and better health – for all New Yorkers."

The Health Department has issued a Request for Grant Applications at (www.health.ny.gov/funding/rfa/0708160258/) to regional health information organizations, which are non-profit corporations advancing health IT to improve health-care quality and safety, and to community health IT adoption collaborations, which are groups of ambulatory care clinicians and their affiliated providers seeking to use electronic medical records to improve patient care.

"We are seeking ideas from the health-care community directly," Commissioner Daines said. "Clinical priorities should drive technology implementation, not the other way around."

Funding for the grants comes from the Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL NY), adopted in 2004 to invest up to $1 billion over four years to reform and reconfigure New York's health-care delivery system to improve patient care and increase operational efficiency. This is the fifth request for grants under HEAL NY, which is administered by the state Health Department and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. HEAL 5 seeks to build on the progress of the $52.9 million in HEAL 1 grants awarded in May 2006 for health IT initiatives.

Dormitory Authority Executive Director David D. Brown IV said, "The Dormitory Authority is pleased to assist in providing grant funds that will help health care providers across the state provide better and more efficient care to New Yorkers."

The goals of the HEAL NY Phase 5 grants are to start laying a foundation of health IT infrastructure and capacity where:

  • Clinical information is in the hands of doctors and nurses so that it can guide medical decisions and the coordination of a patient's care under multiple physicians.
  • Medical information follows consumers so they are at the center of their care.
  • Quality initiatives requiring health IT tools result in robust accountability based of the data needed to assess patient outcomes and provider performance.
  • Clinical data is accurately collected in a timely manner for reporting on health care trends, clinical trials and other research purposes.
  • Clinical research and care delivery are linked to measure and monitor patient outcomes.

Applications will be accepted on November 19, 2007. A conference to answer questions will be held September 28 in the Empire State Plaza Concourse's Meeting Room 6 and questions from potential applicants will be due October 12, with answers posted on the DOH Web site, www.health.ny.gov. The applications will be evaluated by DOH's Office of Health Information Technology Transformation, created in April to modernize health IT in New York, and the Dormitory Authority.

For more information on the Health Department's Office of Information Technology Transformation, please see www.health.ny.gov/technology/. For more information on the Dormitory Authority, please see www.dasny.org.