Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that $7 million was awarded to four organizations in New York state that are working to prevent and control obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The grant, originating with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will be dispersed to the four awardees over the next three years. HealtheConnections will receive $2.05 million to implement improvements in six Central New York counties, identified by the New York State Department of Health, with high rates of chronic disease including Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties.
The award is being administered through the New York State Department of Health’s Local Initiatives for Multi Sector Public Health Action, or Local IMPACT, program. This program supports the statewide goals of improving population health, transforming health care delivery and reducing health disparities. It aligns with current state health initiatives, including the Prevention Agenda, the State Health Innovation Plan (SHIP), Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program, the Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP), and the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY). HealtheConnections is a partner with three regional DSRIP programs, the regional PHIP agent for Central New York and a regional state accredited entity of the SHIN-NY.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to leverage our experience in population health improvement, provider engagement, and health data analytics for Local IMPACT,” said Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections. “The work associated with this award is a natural extension of our role as neutral convener and health improvement organization for the region, along with our valued partner organizations, to improve the health of both the general population, as well as populations experiencing health disparities.”
To carry out this initiative, HealtheConnections will partner with organizations from each of the six identified counties. Partners include Cayuga County Community Health Network, Seven Valleys Health Coalition of Cortland County, Herkimer County HealthNet, Central New York Health Home Inc. of Oneida County, Onondaga County Health Department, and Oswego County Rural Health Network. HealtheConnections will also collaborate with other organizations, including pharmacies, health care providers, and higher education, across the region who will lend their support and expertise to the program.
Local IMPACT will utilize a multi-faceted approach, impacting both the health care delivery system and the community at large simultaneously. Activities pertaining to health care delivery will include increased adoption of technology, practice facilitation, the engagement of community health workers, and improved referral between health care and community based resources. In community settings, activities will include improving access to healthy food, promoting physical activity, and working with institutions such as worksites and hospitals to improve their nutrition standards. Participation in the National Diabetes Prevention Program and other pertinent programs is also a core activity of the grant.
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and asthma, are the leading causes of death, disability and rising health care costs in New York State and in Central New York. They account for approximately 60 percent of all deaths in the state and affect the quality of life for millions of New Yorkers.
HealtheConnections and Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) are pleased to announce the enabling of secure access to vital medical information for active-duty military and their families between the Department of Defense (DoD) systems used by Fort Drum MEDDAC and regional healthcare providers using HealtheConnections regional health information exchange (HIE).
Central and northern New York participating care providers have been able to use HealtheConnections to share and access civilian patient records for improved care. Now, the medical records of more than 19,000 Fort Drum soldiers and their dependents will be available for improved medical care, as reported by the Watertown Daily Times in their December 17, 2015 article. The Fort Drum military base supports the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and other units.
“What’s been missing all these years has been the military,” said Corey M. Zeigler, FDRHPO’s chief information officer. “Now, when soldiers and their family get care in our area, all of that information goes back to their primary physician on post.”
Col. John A. McMurray, commander of Fort Drum’s MEDDAC, speaking to the Watertown Daily Times, said this capability gives doctors on base a “better snapshot” of a soldier’s health, which is important when determining when he or she is ready for duty after an injury or illness. “We are focused on readiness as a first priority,” Col. McMurray said. “For instance, when we send a soldier out for an MRI, having instant access to that medical information is key.”
In 2014, HealtheConnections enabled patient medical record exchange with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Col. McMurray recognized the importance of HealtheConnections links with the VA and Department of Defense. “I’m excited about how this interacts with the VA,” he said. “As we transition soldiers out of service, this sharing of medical records will ensure they will be treated like soldiers for life.”
Fort Drum is home to over 19,000 active duty soldiers and their families, each participating in the U.S. Army base’s unique model of healthcare delivery. Although there are healthcare services located on the Fort Drum military base to support the 10th Mountain Division and other units, there is not a military hospital. Instead the military community receives care through a network of community healthcare partners, including physicians, specialists and hospitals. Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization’s mission is to strengthen the North Country Healthcare System for Fort Drum soldiers, their families and the surrounding civilian community through evaluation, planning and improvement initiatives between the Fort Drum community members and quality health care in Northern NY.
This important healthcare link was achieved through HealtheConnections’ participation as a member of the Sequoia Project’s eHealth Exchange, formerly HealtheWay, a group of 100+ federal agencies and non-federal organizations with a common mission to improve patient care using a secure, trusted, and interoperable health information exchange. In 2014, HealtheConnections and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) announced a similar integration for the care of central and northern New York veterans.
With over 560 participating organizations in the eleven counties of central and northern New York, HealtheConnections provides access to regional patient health records, with patient consent, for the use by healthcare providers for improved care.
“By facilitating access to the electronic health records of our community, military and veteran residents, we have created a comprehensive ecosystem for our regional providers,” says Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections. We’re proud of this important link to support our military and their families’ healthcare – joining much larger military communities like Norfolk, San Diego, Washington D.C., Grand Junction, and the Puget Sound region.”
In collaboration with Central New York health care providers and stakeholders, HealtheConnections (pronounced “healthy connections”) delivers trusted and valued services which support health care transformation and efficiency initiatives focused on achieving the triple aim of better care, better population health and lower health care costs. HealtheConnections provides unbiased, neutral health information exchange (HIE) services*, electronic health record (EHR) adoption technical and meaningful use advisement services and population health improvement support services for the 11 counties of the Central New York region. The name HealtheConnections represents our commitment to connect and engage Central New York health care physicians, hospitals, public health, mental and behavior health and human services, and other health care providing entities, insurers, businesses and consumers to collaborate to deliver improvement services and initiatives that support regional and New York state’s health information exchange and population health improvement agendas.
*HealtheConnections is a qualified entity of the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY)
About Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization
FDRHPO or Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization is an agency that strengthens the North Country Healthcare System for Fort Drum Soldiers, their Families and the surrounding civilian community. FDRHPO connects the Military Treatment Facility with the regional healthcare system. FDRHPO does not provide services; rather our role is to evaluate, plan and strengthen the link between Fort Drum community members and quality health care in Northern NY.
For more information about FDRHPO, visit www.fdrhpo.org
About Fort Drum MEDDAC
The U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC) Fort Drum and Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic provides high quality healthcare and leadership to maximize medical readiness of the force and improve, restore, and sustain the health of our patients.
For more information about Fort Drum MEDDAC, visit http://www.drum.amedd.army.mil/SitePages/Home.aspx