Jump to Content

Substance Use Disorder: Part 2 Data Accessibility Development

/ Uncategorized /

HealtheConnections has developed a Substance Use Disorder protocol, commonly referred to as 42CFR or Part 2, for receiving and disclosing data through the health information exchange (HIE). With this new capability, authorized medical professionals are able to immediately view a patient’s information that may previously have been difficult to obtain, giving the provider a more complete picture of the patient’s needs and, ultimately, leading to better quality of care. This protocol is an initial implementation in New York State and HealtheConnections is proud to be one of the few HIEs in the country spearheading innovation in this sector.

In February of this year, a ruling at the federal level by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prompted HealtheConnections to delve further into a problem that they have been attempting to address for the last five years – the regulation and implementation of protected health information regarding drug and alcohol abuse. Now, through collaborative guidance from SAMHSA, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), and New York State Office of Mental Health, HealtheConnections is able to offer a solution to its participants.

Part 2 data requires special provisions due to the sensitivity of its content. HealtheConnections is implementing the following provisions to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations:

  • Qualified Services Organization Agreement (QSOA) is in place between the Part 2 facility and HealtheConnections
  • HealtheConnections uses a facility tag to identify the Part 2 data
  • Treatment facility obtains a patient’s ‘Release to Disclose’ to HealtheConnections and only sends data for patients with affirmative consent
  • HealtheConnections participants obtain QE consent to access all the patient’s records through the HIE
  • HealtheConnections restricts access to Public Health and sPRL

HealtheConnections has developed a policy and the technical capability to meet regulations and allow authorized users to access Part 2 data when caring for a patient. This important information, available through the HIE, can give the practitioner a more comprehensive assessment of what the patient’s medical needs are.

Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections, says he hopes that other HIEs will follow closely behind. “Our purpose is to provide the most holistic view of a patient to our healthcare professionals, and give them tools to assist in their decision-making process to provide care,” he says. “This is one more way we are able to do that.”

The capability will be made available to HealtheConnections’ users by October.

For further information, contact Karen Romano, Director of Operations at 315.671.2241 x250 or kromano@healtheconnections.org.

LabCorp Authorization Form Required to Share Data

/ Uncategorized /

LabCorp requires authorization in order to release patient results to the Health Information Exchange (HIE). By sending this information to the HIE, patient records are updated with the most recent data, giving healthcare providers a more complete view of a patient’s medical history.

If your organization uses LabCorp’s services and would like to make your patient data available to other authorized healthcare providers through the HIE, sign and submit the LabCorp Authorization form below:

Message from the CEO

/ Uncategorized /

To our HealtheConnections participants:

I am proud to share with you the progress HealtheConnections has made throughout this year. Our September data is in and the results are incredible! The numbers speak for themselves: This works. The HIE is growing and we have you, our partners, to thank for it.

We’ve documented some huge successes year-to-date, and this means great things for all of us. With more usage and participants involved, everyone can get more out of the HIE resources.



If you have friends or colleagues who have yet to connect with us, point them our way. We’re here to help everyone make the most out of our free and secure resources. Faster patient visits, fewer calls for records, easier appointments – our goal is healthy patients and happy staff throughout central New York.

Once again, thank you for letting HealtheConnections be part of your operation. I can’t wait to see what the coming months have in store. 



Rob Hack
CEO, HealtheConnections

Consent Process Expanded to Include 10 – 17 Year Olds

/ Uncategorized /

Effective immediately, consent can now be accepted for children ages 10 through 17 years old. When a patient turns 18, s/he will consent for him/herself.  Using the same consent forms already in place at your facility, parents can select ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘No, except in an Emergency’ for all children under 18 years of age. Emancipated minors* may provide their own consent using the same consent options that are available to all other patients.

Previously, there had been a restriction on consent for patients ages 10 through 17 years old, which only allowed emergency access for this age group.  This change expands access for providers to more comprehensive medical records for patients under 18 years of age, and is especially important for pediatricians, family practitioners, hospitals, and clinics.

Please begin using your current consent form to allow parents to select an option for all children under 18 years of age.



In the coming months, any patient under 18 years old will be able to override the consent status provided for them by their parent/guardian when receiving any minor-consented services. These services include, but are not limited to, reproductive services and STD testing.  The child will be able to override if the parent has consented ‘No’, ‘No, except in an Emergency’, or has not yet consented.  The override consent will only remain in effect for the duration of the visit.  More details will be distributed when this feature becomes available. 

If you have any questions, please contact support@healtheconnections.org or 315.671.2241 x5.


*An emancipated minor (any person who is the parent of a child, has married, or is otherwise legally emancipated) may give consent for medical, dental, health and hospital services for him/herself and the consent of no other person shall be necessary.

Department of Defense Approves Health Information Exchange Between Fort Drum MEDDAC and Community Providers

/ Uncategorized /

The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, in collaboration with Syracuse-based HealtheConnections and Fort Drum’s Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC), is pleased to announce Department of Defense approval of a unique electronic health information exchange partnership between Fort Drum and the surrounding community.

Click here to read the September 13, 2016 press release.

Updated HealtheConnections HIE Participation Agreements Now Available

/ Uncategorized /

HealtheConnections has updated its HIE Participation Agreement, Business Associate Agreement, and Terms & Conditions.  Copies of the lined and final versions of the documents are available below.  The lined version shows all modifications and gives you the opportunity to review the explicit changes that were made.

Key modifications include:

  • Updates to reflect the SHIN-NY Regulation that was passed in March 2016
  • Permitted and prohibited uses of RHIO data
  • Enhanced verbiage for HealtheConnections to act as a Qualified Service Organization, including an exhibit in the Terms & Conditions that outlines the specifics of the QSO agreement


HIE Participation Agreement – Final
HIE Participation Agreement – Lined Version

Business Associate Agreement – Final
Business Associate Agreement – Lined Version

Terms & Conditions – Final
Terms & Conditions – Lined Version



Kinney Drugs Partners with HealtheConnections

/ Uncategorized /

Kinney Drugs and HealtheConnections Partner to Provide Physicians with Access to Critical Prescription Information

Kinney Drugs, a leading healthcare organization in New York and Vermont, announced a collaborative healthcare partnership with HealtheConnections, a Syracuse-based regional health information organization (RHIO) supporting eleven counties of central and northern New York, to allow physicians and other healthcare providers to securely access and share patient prescription information.  This partnership will link medication prescribed with medications picked up at over 70 New York Kinney Drugs stores.

For patients, particularly those with multiple and chronic illnesses, sharing their medical information through HealtheConnections’ health information exchange (HIE) can help reduce the time spent filling out paperwork, briefing providers on their medical history and tracking prescriptions across patient caregivers.  This partnership provides physicians with access to critical prescription and medical information that may not otherwise be available, which is especially important for urgent care or emergency room visits occurring late at night or on weekends.

“Pharmacists and pharmacy services are vital to patient care. Having access to medications that are picked up, not just prescribed or filled, brings us much closer to knowing what medications a patient is using for their care and health,” says Rob Hack, president and CEO of HealtheConnections. “This valued partnership with Kinney Drugs will provide an important flow of information that will greatly enhance the patient, provider and pharmacist interaction and communication for improved patient care.”

Patients will provide their consent for records to be shared with HealtheConnections’ HIE. Patient benefits include:

  • Improved emergency and overall care. Vital medical information for diagnosis and treatment will be available even when patients might not be able to explain their medical situation or prescription history.
  • Fewer repeat medical tests and procedures. Visibility of previously picked up prescriptions, tests results and services will eliminate the expense and inconvenience of duplicate testing as well as the dangers of prescribing duplicate medication therapies.
  • Reduced risk of errors. Electronic health records lessen the chance of errors caused by difficulties in reading hand-written or faxed reports, prescriptions and orders.
  • Less time, greater convenience. – Patients no longer have to hand-carry prescription records, lab reports, radiology test results and images, and other medical information from provider to provider.
  • Better communication. Healthcare providers and pharmacists can correspond about patient clinical information using Direct Mail, a secure email system.

Patients must provide consent for their care providers to view their electronic medical information available with HealtheConnections.  Over one million of HealtheConnections’ regional population has provided consent to their care providers.  Over 170 regional healthcare organizations are sharing electronic health records for the use of nearly 600 participating organizations, representing seventy percent of the region’s 3,000 providers.

“Pharmacists play an essential role in the treatment and prevention of chronic and acute illnesses. By partnering with HealtheConnections, our pharmacists will be more integrated within the health care system which will allow them to better collaborate with other providers to help improve patient health outcomes,” says Jim Spencer, president of Kinney Drug stores. “Over $290 billion is wasted annually due to the medical costs associated with poor medication adherence and our pharmacists are best positioned to help address this issue.  Kinney Drugs is excited to offer this service to our patients as a meaningful way to more effectively communicate prescription information to their providers, as we strive to deliver the highest level of care and make it easier for our patients to lead healthier lives.”

HealtheConnections uses sophisticated security technology to provide privacy protection of the medical information exchanged.  Information can only be accessed by and exchanged between patient-authorized and HealtheConnections-governed health care providers. HealtheConnections is a NYS Department of Health accredited entity of the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).


About Kinney Drugs

Kinney Drugs is the drug store division of KPH Healthcare Services, Inc., a leading pharmacy health care company that strives to provide the highest-quality pharmacy, health and retail services in the communities served.  Founded in 1903 by Burt Orrin Kinney, Kinney Drugs now operates 100 drug stores in Central and Northern New York and Vermont, as well as a distribution center. Kinney Drugs is an employee-owned company headquartered in upstate New York. For more information, visit www.kinneydrugs.com.


2015 Year in Review

/ Uncategorized /

A message from HealtheConnections’ President & CEO, Rob Hack:


I am pleased to provide this Year in Review report to all our participants, stakeholders, community partners, and colleagues. As a regional collaborative, we continue to make significant progress in support of Central New York’s healthcare transformation and Prevention Agenda health improvement plan. In 2015, we leveraged our regional relationships and collaborations as the region’s health information exchange and meaningful use advisory organization to launch an important new population health improvement team. This team works with regional partners to use community health data, activities, and resources, along with regional, state, and national best practices to address health improvement opportunities.

With a renewed mission, we look forward to continuing to work to make a difference in Central New York.

Our mission: HealtheConnections supports the meaningful use of health information technology and exchange and the use of community health data and best practices to enable Central New York stakeholders to transform and improve patient care, improve the health of populations, and lower health care costs.

I appreciate the leadership of our Board of the Directors and the effort of my team, our participants, our partners, and colleagues. Together, we have a lot to be proud of.


Rob Hack, President & CEO


HealtheConnections 2015 Year in Review Report

HealtheConnections Partners with ARISE to Improve Community Health Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

/ Uncategorized /

HealtheConnections and ARISE were chosen by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) as part of their Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities project to collaboratively work to make health-related opportunities in Onondaga County more inclusive of people with disabilities. Onondaga County is one of 10 local communities in five states to participate with this project which seeks state and community collaboration to accelerate disability inclusion policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) improvements that will increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for people living with disabilities.

The project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Human Development and Disability, Disability and Health Branch and will be led by NACDD. The New York State Department of Health’s Disability and Health Program (NYSDHP) will serve as the expert advisor to HealtheConnections and ARISE.

“We are pleased with the opportunity to expand our role in population health improvement with this award,” said Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections. “Along with ARISE, we look forward to improving the accessibility of walking trails and pedestrian infrastructure in Onondaga County, which will benefit the health of people with disabilities.”

NACDD initiated the competitive funding request for local communities in those states that currently receive funding from the CDC Disabilities and Health Branch. HealtheConnections and ARISE will work with the NYSDHP to support a five-phase disability inclusion process complete with training opportunities, community assessment, and action planning.

“We are delighted to be working with HealtheConnections,” stated Tom McKeown, ARISE Executive Director.  “As an Independent Living Center, we work with people of all ages with all types of disabilities.  Increased inclusion and improving health are vital to us.”

The five selected states and 10 local communities are:

  • Iowa (Carroll County and Sioux City);
  • Montana (Butte and Helena);
  • New York (Cattaraugus County and Onondaga County);
  • Ohio (Adams County and Marion County); and
  • Oregon (Benton County and Umatilla County).

For more information about this project, please contact Bruce Hathaway (bhathaway@healtheconnections.org).


About HealtheConnections

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* and population health improvement support services for the 11 counties of the Central New York region. The name HealtheConnections represents our commitment to connect, engage and collaborate with health care physicians, hospitals, public health, mental and behavior health and human services, and other health care providing entities, insurers, businesses and consumers to deliver regionally valued services and initiatives that support New York state’s health information exchange and population health improvement agendas.

*HealtheConnections is accredited by NYS Department of Health as a qualified entity of the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

For more information about HealtheConnections visit www.healtheconnections.org.



ARISE is an Independent Living Center, organized and directed by people with disabilities.  ARISE works in Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga, Madison, and Seneca counties. ARISE has been providing advocacy and services since 1979, connecting with approximately 7,000 people of all ages who have all types of disabilities every year. ARISE also operates ARISE at the Farm, a 77-acre recreational facility in Chittenango, NY, and ARISE & Ski at Toggenburg Winter Sports Center in Fabius.


Media Contacts

Alicia Schaumberg, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
(315) 671-2241 ext. 260


Nancy Kern Eaton, Director of Development & Public Relations
(315) 671-2903

HealtheConnections Receives Funding to Help Prevent and Control Chronic Disease Across Central New York

/ Uncategorized /

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.