June 4, 2010

Whitehouse and Reed Announce $1.5 Million for Health Information Technology at East Bay Community Action

Washington, DC – Rhode Island’s Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed today announced that East Bay Community Action has been awarded $1,574,074 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement health information technology. They were joined at the event today by Dennis Roy, the CEO of East Bay Community Action. Joanne McGunagle, executive director of CCAP and Ed Conklin, interim executive director at Wood River Health Services participated as well. Both organizations are partners in the grant.

“Health information technology is perhaps the most important investment we can make in improving out health delivery system,” Whitehouse said. “Through better tracking of diagnosis and treatment, we can not only ensure better care and outcomes, but also reduce costs. I congratulate East Bay Community Action on this award and look forward to seeing additional health IT deployment throughout Rhode Island.”

“I am pleased that East Bay Community Action Program and its partners have won this competitive grant to improve electronic health records and upgrade their health information technology systems. This is a smart investment that will provide patients with better quality health care in a more efficient, effective, and less costly manner,” said Reed. “Senator Whitehouse has been a leader on this issue at both the state and national level and he deserves credit for helping to make this funding available and improve our health system.”

“This funding will allow our three community health centers to expand our medical records and dental records capabilities thereby enhancing the quality of our services to our patients,” said Roy. “Thank you to Senators Reed and Whitehouse for their support to this endeavor.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 45 community health centers have been awarded grants totaling $84 million to help them upgrade and implement HIT systems through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

East Bay Community Action provides a wide array of social services, and operates two health centers – the Jean Hicks Health Center in Newport and the East Bay Family Health Center in Riverside.

Senator Whitehouse has been a champion of health information technology since his time as Rhode Island’s Attorney General. In 2001, then Attorney General Whitehouse recognized that, despite Rhode Island’s small size, the health care community operated in silos. Believing that the state needed a unified voice to address the issue of health care quality, he founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), a collaboration focused on producing significant, measurable improvements in health care quality, safety, and value in the state, which has received $26 million in federal health care reform grants this year.


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