EHR pilot gets six-month extension in Massachusetts

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Pilot programs designed to help physicians in three Massachusetts towns pay for EHR software and participation in health information exchanges have been extended to the end of 2008, six months past the original June deadline. 

The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative manages the pilots funded with a $50 million commitment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

To date, the collaborative reports that a total of 130 practices in Brockton, Newburyport and North Adams have participated in the pilots and 417 of 435 participating physicians are using an EHR.

The North Adams HIE has been live for almost a year, and the Brockton and Newburyport HIEs now are being rolled out. Enough funds remain to get all physicians live on their local HIE by June and to pay HIE costs through December, according to Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of the collaborative.

In 2009, physicians and participating hospitals will be financially responsible for supporting the EHRs and HIEs and Tripathi said that the collaborative is working with the communities to develop sustainable business models in preparation.

Tripathi added that legislation currently on the state’s agenda would provide $25 million in annual funds to support development of a statewide HIE.