01.26.07

Rhode Island to Receive Over $700,000 to Update Medicaid Computer Technology

Washington, D.C. - In an effort to help the Rhode Island state government improve service delivery to Medicaid patients and reduce bureaucracy, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will award the state of Rhode Island $725,253 to update and upgrade its information technology systems.

The Medicaid "IT Infrastructure Transformation grant" will be used to help the state improve their record-keeping and efficiency to help improve health care for thousands of low-income, elderly, and disabled Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island is one of 27 states receiving this federal funding, which was provided in the fiscal year 2005 budget.

"I am pleased that Rhode Island has received this federal funding to help improve its health care technology," said Reed, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. "This money will allow the state to provide better quality care in a more efficient, effective, and less costly manner. Dealing with complicated health care forms and bureaucracy can be a real headache. This IT grant will go a long way toward ensuring that Medicaid-eligible Rhode Islanders can get the information and the care they need, when they need it."

Last summer Senator Reed authored legislation to provide funding to establish a commission to assess how new technologies can improve the health care system for our nation's seniors and reduce costs.

"Too many of the doctors and nurses I've met in Rhode Island feel they spend more time filling out paperwork than caring for patients," said Whitehouse. "Better health information technology can mean less bureaucracy and red tape, fewer dangerous medical errors, lower costs, and higher-quality care. Our state has been a leader in the use of health information technology, and I'm delighted that this grant will help further our efforts."

In May 2006, a coalition including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and SureScripts named Rhode Island first in the nation in the use of electronic prescriptions. The Rhode Island Quality Institute, an organization Whitehouse founded during his tenure as the state's Attorney General, is among the organizations leading the state's ongoing efforts to improve and expand its use of health information technology.

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