Washington, D.C. – Arizona today received almost $3 million through the federal electronic health record incentive program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to increase the use of electronic records for Medicaid patients. The records make health data quickly available to any doctor a patient chooses to visit, reducing the need for duplicative tests and ultimately cutting patient expenses.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva said the $2.89 million grant – the highest figure among the 12 states given money during the current grant cycle – is “welcome assistance for Arizona’s underserved Medicaid population,” especially because the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state Medicaid program, faces state-level cuts.
The state has already committed to gather information on existing barriers to its use of electronic records, assess provider eligibility for electronic record incentive payments, and create a Health Information Technology Plan. The funds will go to support those and other related activities.
“Electronic health records are the kind of innovation that governments at all levels should embrace,” Grijalva said. “They make care more targeted and efficient, they reduce patient expenses and they save providers time and trouble without reducing quality. This grant, like many other well-designed Recovery Act investments, will more than pay for itself – in this case, through better and cheaper health care for Arizonans.”
The grant comes two weeks after Arizona received $9.3 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to upgrade health information technology statewide. Together, Grijalva said, “these grants can help bring Arizona’s health care standards up to where they should be and can lay the groundwork for a permanently more efficient statewide health care system.”