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.



Life Care Centers Of America Bestows 2017 Awards For Excellence

Life Care Centers of America bestowed this year’s awards for excellence in an array of presentations at its headquarters in Cleveland.  The Chairman’s Award for outstanding commitment to excellence went to Dan Gauger, vice president of Life Care’s Longs Peak Region. The Carl W. Campbell Wind Beneath My Wings Award for the company-wide volunteer of the year went to James ... (click for more)

President Signs Alexander, Murray Bill To Speed Delivery Of Safe, Effective Cures And Treatments To Patients

President Trump on Friday signed bipartisan legislation authored by Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray to speed safe drugs and medical devices into patients’ medicine cabinets and doctors’ offices, while maintaining the highest standards of safety and effectiveness. “The legislation signed by the president today will speed the ... (click for more)

Mark Wharton Named Vice Chancellor And Director Of Athletics At UTC

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Dr. Steven Angle announced Mark Wharton as the Mocs' new vice chancellor and director of athletics on Tuesday.  A press conference introducing Mr. Wharton is scheduled for  Wednesday, at  2 p.m.  in the Chattanooga Room in the University Center.  Community members, fans and supporters are invited to ... (click for more)

Government Paid Almost $181,000 In Social Security Benefits To Sewanee Man After He Died In 1988; Hawkins Charged With Embezzlement

The Social Security Administration paid almost $181,000 in benefits to a Sewanee man after he died in 1988, federal prosecutors said. The government learned in 2014 that the money designated to Walter Acton was going to a man living in his home at 3932 Jump Off Road - Edward Hawkins. Hawkins has agreed to plead guilty to embezzlement in the case. Prosecutor Perry Piper said ... (click for more)

The Soul Of Chattanooga Is In Trouble

As a child growing up in the Chattanooga area, at an early age I became fascinated with the history that cloaks the city. In those days there was enough pollution to cover the town and its history but that didn't stop tourists from coming to visit Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and the Chickamauga battlefield.     Chattanooga's leadership was not very far sighted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Writing From Bragg Avenue

Far and away, my favorite comment on destroying statues appeared on my Facebook page the other day and, believe it or not, it was the clear-minded Times Free Press Sports Editor Stephen Hargis who penned, “This statue offends me! It must be torn down!” Underneath his fiery words, the long-suffered UT football fan posted a picture of the bronze monument outside of Bryant-Denny stadium ... (click for more)