R.I. HIE nets federal funds to extend into behavorial health

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The Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), a nonprofit organization, has received $600,000 in federal funding to extend access to current care, the statewide health information exchange (HIE), to the behavioral health community.

The Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS)—a joint initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)—has awarded RIQI a subcontract to facilitate the sharing of patient data electronically between behavioral and general health providers. Under the subcontract, RIQI will integrate behavioral health providers into current care, a network that gives authorized medical professionals access to their consented patients’ most updated health information.

“Rhode Island’s behavioral health system serves over 54,000 individuals each year. Sharing this population’s medical histories is critical to ensuring providers have the most comprehensive view of patients to best coordinate care and reduce medication errors,” said Gary Christensen, COO and CIO at RIQI.

RIQI will lead a partnership that includes other organizations from the behavioral health community, general health providers, R.I. Medicaid, the R.I. Department of Health (HEALTH) and the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH). R.I. Medicaid is part of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), with HEALTH and BHDDH two of the EOHHS's four departments.

The subcontract will fund the development of necessary infrastructure and several initiatives to support the expansion of health information exchange capabilities to behavioral health providers. Under the subcontract, nine community mental health organizations (CMHOs) will be added to the first group of current care users, giving them access to the physical health information collected by current care to date and on an on-going basis.

Since current care went live in 2011, more than 200,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled and more than 4,000,000 health records from R.I.’s largest medical laboratories, eight hospitals and several small practices have been processed.

Rhode Island is one of only five states to receive funding to facilitate the sharing of patient data electronically between behavioral and general health providers. The other states to receive this funding from CIHS are Illinois, Kentucky, Maine and Oklahoma.