Ala. gets $10.5 million for e-health records system

MONTGOMERY, AL – Governor Bob Riley announced Thursday that Alabama has received $10.5 million in federal funds to build an electronic health information system that can be used by public and private health care providers.

The award is part of $385 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to states to advance the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records and health information technology.

"Electronic health records make our health care system more efficient and improve the quality of care patients receive," said Governor Riley.  "Alabama has been leader in health information technology.  Since 2007, the Alabama Medicaid Agency has led a broad-based effort to create a statewide electronic health information system that links Medicaid, state health agencies, health care providers and private payers.  With this new funding, we will continue moving forward to build an electronic system that supports all health care providers, increases efficiency and maintains high quality for patients."

Alabama's effort, known as Together for Quality, was a federally-funded pilot project to develop and test the use of electronic health records as a way to improve the quality of care provided to Medicaid patients, especially those with asthma and diabetes. The project's electronic health record has been in use since July 2008.

"Health information technology can help us transform our medical system from one that is often fragmented and process-oriented, to one that is coordinated, patient-centered and cost-efficient," said Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Carol Steckel.  "When we do this, we help Medicaid recipients and all patients lead healthier lives by preventing problems, reducing duplication and creating an environment where quality health care can flourish."

The $10.5 million will be made available in the form of a cooperative agreement over a four-year period at matching rates ranging from 100 percent federal funds in the current fiscal year to 30 percent federal funds in the fourth year of the project.

Information Source: Governor Bob Riley's office