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GA-HITEC Helps Over 4,000 Georgia Primary Care Doctors Reach Electronic Health Record's Meaningful Use

ATLANTA, April 4, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC) part of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Georgia's only federally endorsed health information technology regional extension center, has reached 100% target eligible primary care providers and 89% of its eligible critical access and rural hospitals to have achieved Meaningful Use (MU) in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive programs for Stage 1 criteria. Working with community partners statewide, GA-HITEC has provided hands-on education and outreach to over 4,000 eligible primary care physicians and 56 critical access and rural hospitals to implement and adopt EHR technology. Utilizing a methodical 10-Step Roadmap to EHR Meaningful Use, GA-HITEC has provided members direct, reliable and rapid assistance on key information regarding the EHR implementation process to simplify the path to meaningful use since 2010.

"Through our quest for Health IT interoperability we have provided the Georgia medical community increased patient engagement and improved quality health care through the use of technology," says Dominic Mack, MD, GA-HITEC's Principal Investigator and newly named Director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. "The hard work of our team will provide for both better clinical outcomes, as well as improved population health outcomes for the people of Georgia."

Through this work in the Regional Extension Center (REC) program, GA-HITEC has assisted members in receiving over $80 million in incentive payments through the CMS EHR incentive programs. According to CMS, these incentive payments are part of a broader effort, under the HITECH Act, to accelerate the adoption of health information technology and use of qualified EHRs. To date, according to The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), nearly 140,000 primary care providers have implemented EHR technology with over 110,000 successfully attesting to meaningfully using the technology.

"We are proud of the work that has been accomplished over the past six years in Georgia in collaboration with our partners throughout the state to advance health IT and interoperability with the adoption and implementation of EHR technology," says Carmen Hughes, Executive Director, GA-HITEC. "This growth is beneficial to both physicians in managing practice operations and also patients in improving access and quality of care."

In 2009, Morehouse School of Medicine was awarded a $21M cooperative agreement from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to become the only Regional Extension Center in Georgia to provide on-the-ground technical assistance for individual and small medical practices, those serving underserved communities, or lacking resources to implement and maintain EHRs. GA-HITEC ranks fifth nationally amongst ONC 's nationwide network of 62 Regional Extension Centers in the number of eligible providers achieving MU.

GA-HITEC, along with its community partners in this effort, assisted its members in achieving successful EHR technology and MU attestations employing a community-oriented team of clinicians, practice managers, and health information technology professionals. The GA-HITEC team specializes in working with provider members, primarily comprised of small physician practices, and critical access and rural hospitals. As the national REC program is slated to sunset in late 2016, GA-HITEC continues to develop activities in support of CMS's HIT initiatives, including Stage 2 and Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, Health Information Exchange (HIE), Clinical Practice Transformation, along with other Value-Based reporting efforts. In 2014, GA-HITEC launched Ga Health Connect (GaHC), a service-area HIE designed to provide integrative technology and clinical support platform for smaller practices, hospitals and health systems that seek a simple, yet comprehensive solution for connectivity to the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN).

For more information about GA-HITEC visit http://ga-hitec.org, email info@ga-hitec.org or, phone 1-877-658-1990.

About GA-HITEC
The Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC) is Georgia's only federally endorsed health information technology center focused on providing technical assistance to providers and hospitals throughout the entire Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation process and beyond, including assistance with the reporting required to qualify for and receive CMS EHR Incentive Program payments. GA-HITEC's broad and practical Health Information Technology (HIT) expertise assists practices and hospitals with improving the quality of care for patients and maximizing overall productivity through the meaningful use of EHR systems.

GA-HITEC Key Community Partners
Georgia Department of Community Health, Alliant Quality-GMCF, Georgia Technical Institute, Georgia Association of Primary Care, Hometown Health, Georgia State Medical Association, Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, Community Health Works, Atlanta Technical College, Georgia Partnership for Tele-health, Hispanic Coalition of Georgia, American College of Physicians- GA chapter, GA State University, GA chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Georgia Board of Regents, Technical College System of Georgia, NW Georgia Healthcare Partnership, Georgia Hospital Association, Medical Association of Georgia, and Morehouse Healthcare.

About Morehouse School of Medicine
Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists and public health professionals. In 2011, MSM was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation's No. 1 medical school in fulfilling a social mission. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.

MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. For more information, please visit www.msm.edu.

CONTACT: Ronna Charles Nu'Man rnuman@msm.edu 404-752-1717

Source:Morehouse School of Medicine