Colorado Safety-net Clinics Dedicated to Health Information Exchange

Date: November 6th, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Safety Net

HIE fits nicely into the medical home care model, helping providers track patients after they leave the clinic

Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) and Clinica Family Health Services are both safety-net providers in Colorado, meaning they offer services to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Most of their patient population is uninsured or covered by Medicaid. With more than 800,000 Coloradans currently lacking health plan coverage, these clinics are a vital part of our community.

MCPN Serves Largest Number of Underinsured in the State

Since 1989, MCPN has provided medical, dental and mental health services plus care coordination and case management as a medical home to the uninsured in Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams, and Park counties as well as Lakewood and Aurora. MCPN has one of the largest population bases of any community health center in Colorado and the largest number of underserved individuals in the state. Services provided in all clinics include well-child visits, immunizations, physicals, chronic disease management, referral services and limited pharmacy and lab support.

MCPN is connected to or “live” on CORHIO’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) and accesses information on patients mainly from Centura Health. “We’ve heard about it for years, we’re all really excited that it’s here and we’re live on it,” said Alicyn Kaiser, PA-C, MMSC, physician assistant/EMR clinical coordinator.

“There were several drivers to us joining the HIE,” said Dave Myers, president and CEO of MCPN. “Firstly, the way that healthcare is going and the role we’re playing in accountable care. We also had issues with communication with multiple partners in the community around where the patient is at during any given time. To be effective in accountable care, you have to be able to act immediately, especially if [a patient is] in the hospital or ER.”

“Our providers think it’s fantastic. They were excited to get information back so quickly, especially for patients they didn’t know had been admitted to the hospital or went to the ER,” said Kaiser. “We’re looking forward to the time when all the hospitals are sending information to the HIE.”

The Medical Assistant (MA) staff at MCPN spend a lot of time trying to track down patient records — so they’re enthusiastic about getting records automatically through the HIE. MCPN is now talking about how they can utilize MAs for other areas of patient care, like patient education and outreach.

“It’s incredibly exciting and I’m hoping for a day when everyone’s on it,” said Myers.

Clinica Dedicated to Using Health IT to Improve Patient Care

Clinica Family Health Services is a community health center serving more than 40,000 low-income and underserved people each year. Clinica is considered a patient-centered medical home and provides a “one-stop-shop” for its patients to not only be seen by a Physician, Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner, but also fill prescriptions and even receive dental care. The health center has five locations across Boulder, Broomfield, and Adams counties.

All five of Clinica’s locations are completely electronic, and the center uses data collected through its EHR system for the management of chronic conditions and diseases such as diabetes and asthma. Clinica and CORHIO are currently working together to get their connection to the HIE live through their existing Electronic Health Record system.

“CORHIO will significantly expand our access to this data across the wider community where our patients access care,” said Carolyn Shepherd, MD, Medical Director of Clinica. “Having this complete view of the care our patients receive across the continuum will show us where we can better help them as they move through these systems. This functionality is the core of developing accountable care.”