HHS awards $41,000 to Compass

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded over $41,000 to Compass Community Health Centers in Portsmouth. HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $2,580,066 in funding for 44 health centers in Ohio for health information technology enhancements. In total, the announcement includes $87 million in funding for 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin, including $41,393 to Compass.

“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to millions of people,” Burwell said. “This investment will help unlock health care data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health care system for the American people.”

The funding will support health information technology enhancements to accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. To support those goals, all purchases or upgrades of electronic health record systems made with the funding must use technology that is certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. This is the first significant investment since 2009 directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health information technology.

“This money will be used for IT enhancements that will help us expand Compass Community Health Care Center’s capacity to access systems with greater ease and speed, decrease wait times, and improve customer experience, especially when our patients utilize a new online patient portal to view their health records,” Summer Kirby, Compass Community Health Chief Financial Officer said. “They will be able to send email to our providers and receive text alerts for appointment reminders.”

Jim Macrae, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Acting Administrator, said the awards will allow health centers to deliver a higher quality of care to patients and spend health care dollars in a smarter way.

“The grant award will make a big impact, because it will help us coordinate our patient’s care, using the latest digital innovations related to health, which in turn improves outcomes for our patients,” Kirby said. “At Compass, we meet patients where they are. We offer compassionate, quality care to anyone in the community. Anything we can do to help improve a patient experience, and consequently, their health is our first priority.”

Nearly 1,400 health centers operating over 9,800 sites provide care to more than 24 million people across this nation, in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin. Today, health centers employ nearly 190,000 people.

The funding comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center (CHC) Fund, which was extended with bipartisan support in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. The increased use of health information technology is part of the administration’s efforts to build a health care system that delivers better care, smarter spending and healthier people.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.