• BCBSNC to cover 85 percent of EHR cost for eligible independent practices and 100 percent for eligible free clinics, including training and support for participating practices.
  • “Meaningful Use” of EHR technology is a key driver of  better quality care, reduced medical errors and fewer redundant or unnecessary procedures. 
  • Program eliminates largest barrier to EHR adoption for eligible independent practices and connects them to other health care organizations through the NC Health Information Exchange. 
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. and CHICAGO – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) today announced a collaboration with Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX) that will make Electronic Health Records (EHR) available to more than 750 North Carolina physicians, including over 150 physicians in 39 free clinics, allowing them to connect to the statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE). The new initiative, called the North Carolina Program to Advance Technology for Health (NC PATH), also provides training and ongoing support for these practices to implement the certified EHR technology, and work towards achieving ‘meaningful use’ status and becoming Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognized.  
“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 health care system.”  
As part of the program, participating practices receive support for their efforts toward earning PCMH recognition, which has shown results in enhancing health care quality and managing costs. BCBSNC, working with the NC Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Regional Extension Center programs, will assist practices in identifying quality improvement opportunities within their practices in order to achieve PCMH recognition. In addition, BCBSNC is working with the North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE) to create a program that will support and enable all participating providers to connect to the HIE so that they can share data among providers.
“North Carolina is taking real action and leading the charge toward more effective, more efficient health care,” 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.”
Cost and Use of EHR Technology
BCBSNC and Allscripts are committed to improving quality of care, which is why BCBSNC is investing $15 million into the NC PATH program with Allscripts sharing in the cost, continuing its support of North Carolina health care initiatives. This 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.  
Participation in NC PATH will help physicians meet key provisions of the HITECH Act, including:
  • Adoption of certified EHR technology to support ‘meaningful use’ requirements.
  • Eligibility for up to $44,000 in ‘meaningful use’ EHR incentive payments under the HITECH Act. This is in addition to the BCBSNC subsidy.
  • NC AHEC Regional Extension Center support in achieving ‘meaningful use’ well in advance of the 2015 deadline, which avoids potential reduced Medicare reimbursements.
Practices that implement ‘meaningful use’ certified EHR technology consistently show improvements in the quality of provided care, reduced medical errors and reductions in redundant or unnecessary care, which helps to rein in medical costs.  
Improving Quality through NC HIE and PCMH Recognition
BCBSNC and Allscripts are working with the NC HIE to help develop the statewide health information exchange by establishing the first population able to connect into the exchange. The NC HIE works to enable the timely and secure exchange of electronic health information for the purposes of improving the quality, safety and efficiency of health care and the overall health of North Carolina’s residents.
As part of this initiative, BCBSNC is providing support to NC AHEC to work with practices on-site to help identify and then implement the improvements necessary for the PCMH recognition process. Patients of PCMH-recognized practices commonly experience increased quality of care, including over 50 percent fewer visits to specialists and 70 percent fewer emergency room visits, lower radiology costs and lower average lengths of stay in hospitals. In addition to these improvements, practices that are PCMH recognized may be eligible for increased reimbursements from BCBSNC.
For more information visit http://www.allscripts.com/ncpath.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 77 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at http://www.bcbsnc.com.
About Allscripts:
Allscripts (NASDAQ: MDRX) provides innovative solutions that empower all stakeholders across the health care continuum to deliver world-class outcomes. The company's Electronic Health Record, Computerized Physician Order Entry and other clinical, financial, connectivity and information solutions for hospitals, physicians and post-acute organizations are the essential technologies that enable a Connected Community of Health™. To learn more about Allscripts, please visit www.allscripts.com, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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