Michigan HIE gives $250,000 to buoy healthcare infrastructure surrounding Flint as water crisis rages

Collaboration with Greater Flint Health Coalition hopes to improve health IT infrastructure, analytics, long-term care coordination goals in the area.
By Jessica Davis
11:08 AM
The Flint River in Flint, Michigan, United States, in the late 1970s during a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control project. (Wikipedia)

Michigan health information exchange Great Lakes Health Connect is investing $250,000 to lay the groundwork for better care coordination among healthcare providers across Genesee County to better prepare them for the long-term health effects likely to stem from the ongoing Flint water crisis.

GLHC will partner with Greater Flint Health Coalition to connect dozens of medical practices and improve analytics capabilities to address some of the looming care requirements for those patients contaminated by lead in the water supply.

The organization hopes to "give those responding to the healthcare needs of Flint’s residents the tools needed to coordinate care and positively impact the health and wellbeing of Flint’s citizens over the long term,” said Tom Bres, GLHC board chair, in a statement.

[Also: Flint hospital hit with cyber attack]

More than 420,000 Flint residents have been exposed to water contaminated by lead, including 6,000 to 12,000 children – who will require intensive treatments over the course of their lives. The United Way of Genesee County has already launched a $100 million fundraising campaign for medical treatments for up to 15 years.

GLHC believes data exchange between all providers will improve communication for more accurate, secure and timely care. Additionally, the partnership with Greater Flint Health Coalition will facilitate better care response for tracking lead exposure.

"This integrated network of providers holds the potential for establishing the greater Flint region as the benchmark model for a care-connected community in the United States – a virtual environment where information can be shared quickly among healthcare providers, leading to more effective, efficient healthcare services,” Bres said.

$100,000 will be earmarked to create the Community Interface Grant to pay for the infrastructure necessary to connect 40 physician offices across the county, say GLHC officials, while $90,000 is set for a dedicated implementation consultant to coordinate the program.

Another $50,000 will back an analytics engine for improved communications and data analysis for the coming years, and $10,000 will establish a grant to train all involved with the program.

Twitter: @JessiefDavis