North Carolina Blues, Allscripts to hook up 750 docs with EHRs

By Bernie Monegain
12:35 PM

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is collaborating with health technology company Allscripts to roll out electronic health records to more than 750 North Carolina physicians, including more than 150 physicians in 39 free clinics, allowing them to connect to the statewide health information exchange.

BCBSNC will cover 85 percent of EHR cost for eligible independent practices and 100 percent for eligible free clinics, including training and support for participating practices.

The new initiative, called the North Carolina Program to Advance Technology for Health (NC PATH), also provides training and ongoing support for the practices to implement the certified EHR technology, and work towards achieving meaningful use status and becoming patient-centered medical homes.

"This alliance with Allscripts puts our state on a path to better health outcomes driven by high standards," said Brad Wilson, BCBSNC president and CEO. "By providing more than 750 physicians with this technology and support, they are better able to coordinate care – an important step toward improving our healthcare system."

As part of the program, participating practices receive support for their efforts toward earning PCMH recognition, which has shown results in enhancing healthcare quality and managing costs. BCBSNC, working with the NC Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Regional Extension Center programs, will help practices identify quality improvement opportunities in order to achieve PCMH status. In addition, BCBSNC is working with the North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE) to create a program to enable all participating providers to connect to the HIE.

"North Carolina is taking real action and leading the charge toward more effective, more efficient healthcare," said Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts. "Electronic health records are a critical part of a future that provides Americans with more affordable, higher quality care. Collaborations like this one that expand the reach of technology are a step in the right direction."

BCBSNC is investing $15 million into the NC PATH program with Allscripts sharing in the cost, continuing its support of North Carolina healthcare initiatives. The investment allows BCBSNC to cover 85 percent of the software and setup costs for 600 physicians in eligible independent practices and 100 percent of the costs for 39 eligible free clinics over the next five years, eliminating the largest barrier of entry for utilization of EHR technology.


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