L.A. Care Health Plan receives $15.6M grant to advance use of health IT

The L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan, has received a $15.6 million federal grant to establish the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center, designed to help doctors in Los Angeles County adopt and use electronic health records.

Funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"L.A. Care's relationship with physicians and the safety net will help these doctors implement and achieve meaningful use of electronic health records, which is critically important as they get ready for coverage expansion under healthcare reform," said Howard Kahn, CEO of L.A. Care.

"Thousands of doctors in L.A. County and other healthcare providers will benefit from HITEC-LA's services," said Elaine Batchlor, chief medical officer at L.A. Care. "These services include assessing individual health information technology needs, EHR vendor selection, workflow redesign, on-site technical assistance, education and training and meaningful use benchmarks, among other EHR support."

The HITECH Act is intended to help providers in small practices and safety net settings. Providers do not need to be in L.A. Care's network to participate in HITEC-LA's activities.

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