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September 1st, 2010
Grijalva Congratulates Arizona on $1.1 Million Recovery Act Award To Improve Immunizations and Update Electronic Health Records

Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated Arizona for receiving just over $1.1 million in Recovery Act funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to standardize immunization decision-making across the state and include vaccine information in newly available electronic health records(EHR). The funds will be used to track vaccine administration in realtime and exchange vaccine data between health care providers and public health authorities.

The funds will ensure that an Arizona resident’s vaccination status is available to every clinical practice in the country using electronic health records or accessing an immunization registry.This is expected to save time and money for both patients and doctors. The funds will also ensure that doctors are able to make more informed decisions about children’s immunization needs and histories.

“This is an excellent investment not only in public health quality, but in cost savings for health providers and patients around the state,” Grijalva said of the award. “Moving toward a more efficient, electronic public health records system – rather than the out-of-date, paper-based system we have now – is a perfect example of smartly targeted Recovery Act funding for the public good. I applaud the state for pursuing this money, and I look forward to hearing more about how it’s improving child and family health all over Arizona.”

The Arizona announcement is part of $24.1 million in state-level HHS grants nationwide to build the capacity of public health agencies to receive electronic vaccination data before 2011, when the department will begin awarding payments to health providers who can demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic health records. Those payments are explained at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services EHR Web page.

For more information, contact the HHS Office of Recovery Act Coordination at (202) 205-5100.

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