On June 26, Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a huge opportunity for community health centers across the United States – $195 million of an opportunity. The funding is specifically allocated and meant for community health organizations to expand access to mental health and substance abuse services.
The application deadline for this award, known as the ‘Access Increases for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS) award’, is just around the corner – July 26. You can find more information about the funding here and about the community health program here. HHS expects to award the funding in September.
— Tom Price, M.D. (@SecPriceMD) June 28, 2017
Recipients of the award can use the funds to increase personnel dedicated to mental health and substance abuse services and expand use of health technology, particular that which integrates with primary care services.
With the funding, community health organizations can fully integrate their EHR software to make patient care coordination simpler and more effective.
According to Dr. George Sigounas, Administrator of Health Resources and Services Administration, providing behavioral health care, such as mental health and substance abuse services, in a primary care setting reduces overall cost and leads to better patient results.
The funding from HHS specifically goes to community health centers that serve some of the most vulnerable members of our society – according to HHS’, that includes “1,400 community health centers operate at more than 10,400 sites, providing care to over 24 million people across the nation.”
With the current state of healthcare technology, where the market is dominated by a few big name EHR companies who charge millions of dollars for implementation and usage of their systems, the question is this: how can we make sure that public money allocated to improve the lives of so many people gets the maximum bang for the buck? What are some other options?
The answer is simple in theory, though complicated to employ: education.
Health centers need know the full range of options available to them. If they provide multiple specialties of healthcare services, their requirements are on par with a multi-specialty profit-driven practice. They need a solution just as customized.
Unfortunately, and perhaps obviously, free clinics do not have the financial wherewithal of private practices. Quite often these practices choose to go with well-known, off-the-shelf solutions to avoid the risk of choosing a more unique, though efficient, EHR platform that meets their needs.
Perhaps Open Source EHR is the answer. Perhaps it comes from a EHR company with a similar mission. Perhaps the solution comes from a company established specifically to make health IT affordable and accessible with pricing designed to meet those ends.
For more information about the AIMS award, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/supplement/
To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about