Governor John Baldacci, of Maine, established two entities that are responsible for expanding and coordinating health information technology throughout the State. On the same day, the HealthInfoNet, the State’s designated health information exchange, was awarded $4,777,483 million in federal Recovery Act funds. The money will be used by HealthInfoNet to provide support for health care providers who adopt health information technology in their practice.
These funds are in addition to $6.5 million received in February to develop and implement a statewide health information technology plan.
“This is an important step in reaching our goal to increase quality and efficiency in health care delivery,” said Governor Baldacci. “With our public and private partners, we have been working hard to improve care that all Maine people receive. All together, the additional funds and the creation of the State infrastructure to support and plan for collaborative efforts to advance health information technology will help Maine meet the goals of the State and the federal government.”
The Governor’s Executive Order, establishes a health information technology coordinator, an appointment that was a requirement of the federal Recovery Act. The Office of the State Coordinator for Health Information Technology will operate from within the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance. The Order also establishes a Health Information Steering Committee that will advise the Coordinator.
President Barack Obama recognized Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree for their work on the historic healthcare reform. photo by Ramona du Houx.
The federal support through the Recovery Act funding allows the expansion of Maine’s health information exchange, HealthInfoNet, to eventually reach all healthcare providers in the State.
“This technology is swiftly becoming essential in today’s health care world—but it’s not enough for just the big hospitals to have it. For these records to be truly comprehensive, your family doctor at the town clinic needs it, too,” said Congresswomen Chellie Pingree. “Doctors want to do it for their patients but the cost is prohibitive. This will help make it possible for them.”
This emerging health IT industry is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs ranging from nurses and pharmacy techs to IT technicians and trainers.
“The federal investment in Maine will help create jobs and put or state even further ahead when it comes to our health information technology infrastructure,” said Congressman Mike Michaud.