Rhode Island establishes $20 million bond for anywhere, anytime healthcare access

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To improve the affordability and accessibility of healthcare in Rhode Island, Governor Donald L. Carcieri this week announced his plan to establish a $20 million bond to create a health information network that will create a real-time and more accurate system of care for patients. The bond fund will be used to develop a real-time system of patient healthcare information that reduces healthcare costs and improves the overall quality of care.

“We need to bring healthcare into the information age,” Governor Carcieri said during his announcement on Monday. “Relying on paper records means that critical information may not be available to patients when they most need it – whether they are in an emergency room or seeing a specialist. Establishing a secure, on-demand healthcare information system will be an enormous benefit to Rhode Islanders and their doctors, and it will reduce our overall healthcare costs by eliminating redundancies.”

Funds from the bond will leverage federal and private resources to secure hardware, software and the network capabilities necessary to share, secure, and compile medical data. While more providers are adopting electronic health records, the state funding will play an important role in designing, implementing, and overseeing such a network, the governor said.

This is part of the governor’s five-point plan – first unveiled in October – to directly address the issues that have caused healthcare costs to rise at three times more than the rate of inflation and four times faster than wages. In making his announcement, the governor also announced legislation to address the issues of wellness and access to primary care, as well as budget savings from smarter state purchasing of healthcare by the state.