Chattanooga, Memphis Health Care Organizations 1st To Participate In State’s Health Information Exchange Pilot Program

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Five health care organizations in Chattanooga and Memphis will participate in the pilot phase of the Health eShare Direct Project, a new initiative designed to improve health care by helping health care providers securely share electronic health information.

The Chattanooga-based providers are HealthSouth Chattanooga Rehabilitation Hospital, Erlanger Health System, Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability, and Home Health Care of East Tennessee, Inc. and Hospice. The Memphis-based participant is Health Choice, LLC, a joint venture between MetroCare Physicians and Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare that has developed a patient-centered medical home model for the Mid-South region called Memphis Accountable Care Home (MACH1).

The Health eShare Direct Project is spearheaded by the Tennessee Regional Extension Center, or tnREC, a division of Qsource, a Tennessee-based nonprofit health care quality improvement and information technology company, and supported by the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives. Qsource will work with providers to familiarize them with Direct technology, a secure email-like service that will be the infrastructure that facilitates health information exchange (HIE) in Tennessee. Providers who register for a Direct email address can securely send and receive messages containing health information to each other. Those interested in signing up for a Direct account should visit www.HealtheShareTN.com.

“We are eager to work with Qsource to begin establishing an effective and secure method to share health information,” said Mitch Graves, CEO of Health Choice. “In an era where health care spending is under the microscope, we want to ensure providers can always offer high-quality care while reducing costs. Using Direct technology to safely transmit patient data between providers, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes and other care settings is the best way to do that. We’re excited to be part of the Health eShare Direct Project, and we encourage other providers to join us.”

“Participating in the Health eShare Direct Project will build much-needed informational bridges among providers that will improve patient care, which is our ultimate goal,” said Laurene Vamprine, vice president and chief information officer of Erlanger Health System.

The Health eShare Direct Project will help providers meet Stage 2 meaningful use requirements. Starting in 2014, providers will need to demonstrate to the federal government that they are effectively using electronic health records and securely sharing patients’ health information with other providers. The simple, affordable and secure technology known as Direct satisfies these requirements by allowing doctors access to various health care data sources and offering data exchange at transitions of care.

“The project is a great opportunity for health care providers to effortlessly comply with federal requirements governing health information exchange,” said George Beckett, Health IT coordinator for the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives. “Once these providers in Chattanooga and Memphis begin using Direct services to communicate and share information, we hope they will be excited about how easy it is to use and will quickly see the time-saving and cost-saving benefits.”

Direct requires the use of a certified Health Information Service Provider (HISP) such as ICA, a leading technology vendor that Qsource has partnered with for this pilot. ICA is recognized by DirectTrust.org, a national non-profit industry group dedicated to secure HIE. An incentive program is available for early adopters to help offset the cost of signing up for a Direct account.

The pilot program will start in March and last for three months. Qsource also plans to work with additional communities on similar pilot programs in the near future. Providers interested in being considered a part of these pilot communities or learning more about upcoming opportunities should contact Qsource at 866 514-8595.

The Health eShare Direct Project will also have significant impacts on the Chattanooga Regional Medicare Community-based Care Transitions Program.

“Direct will enable community partners across Chattanooga-area health systems to securely deliver care transition documents for high risk Medicare beneficiaries,” said Thomas E. Preston, assistant director of the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability, a group that provides health coaches to patients to ensure a smooth transition of care. The agency, part of the Chattanooga Regional Health Innovation Coalition, is spearheading the area’s Community-based Care Transitions Program funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Morning Pointe Brings Wildlife To Seniors

Residents at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer's Center of Excellence, Collegedale attended an educational presentation at the Collegedale Library sponsored by Planet Health. Guest speaker Bob Tarter, wildlife education biologist with the Natural History Education Company of the Midsouth, gave a presentation about the world's endangered species, bringing with him animals ... (click for more)

Morning Pointe Hosts BBQ Luncheon In For First Responders in Memory of 9/11

The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer's Center of Excellence, Collegedale invites first responders to a barbecue luncheon in remembrance of 9/11 Friday, on Sept. 2, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., located at 9300 Messinger Lane in Collegedale. Pulled pork and chicken sandwiches with all the fixings will be served courtesy of the dining services department at The Lantern at Collegedale.  ... (click for more)

Jury Awards 25 City Police Personnel Total Of $562,000 On Claims That Pay Plan Was Not Followed

A Chancery Court jury on Wednesday gave a verdict totaling $562,000 for 25 city police personnel who filed suit almost five years ago alleging that the city never lived up to terms of a 2010 pay plan. Attorney Stevie Phillips, who tried the case along with Janie Parks Varnell, said, "The jury awarded each officer what we had asked for to the penny." She stated, "These 25 members ... (click for more)

TDEC Defends Its Operation Of Septic Permit Office In Bradley County; Backs Hank Thompson

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) defended the operation of its septic permit office in Bradley County, including the work of manager Hank Thompson. The Bradley County Commission is studying whether to take over the operation of the office, saying there have been a number of complaints against Mr. Thompson and that he recently kicked Commissioner ... (click for more)

Alexander Should Do Something About The Affordable Health Care Act Price Increase - And Response (3)

Re:  Alexander's remarks about Tennesseans not affording "Affordable Health Care Act" prices Mr. Alexander,  Your message stated, Tennesseans can't afford a 44 percent to 62 percent increase in the Affordable Care prices.  I simply ask, as Senate Health Committee chairman, why don't you do something about it?  Don't tell us something most know already.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 40 Questions About ‘Blue Bags’

No. 1 – Did you know that one in every five of the 42,000 children in the Hamilton County school district is what the experts call “food deprived?” No. 2 – Can you get your arms around the fact that a huge percentage of those 8,400 children get little, if nothing, to eat from Friday at lunch until they return to our schools on Monday? No. 3 -- Did you know that you – just ... (click for more)