Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secretary Leavitt Names Georgia EHR Demonstration Site

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), joined Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), to kick-off Georgia’s efforts as a Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Demonstration Site. The Medicare EHR Demonstration Project will provide Georgia physicians support for the adoption of electronic health records into their clinical practice.

“I am excited that Georgia has been chosen to take part in the electronic health records project,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Georgia's selection is the product of DCH and our stakeholders’ hard work and collaboration throughout the application process. Implementing this type of technology will allow our healthcare professionals to provide the appropriate treatment with greater speed and precision.”

In February 2008, Secretary Leavitt joined Governor Perdue at a monthly meeting of the Health Information Technology and Transparency (HITT) Advisory Board where he encouraged Georgia to submit an application for participation in this first-of-its-kind Medicare EHR Demonstration Project.

“I congratulate the state of Georgia and Governor Perdue on this achievement, which demonstrates their strong commitment to improving health care starting at the local level,” Secretary Leavitt said. “Indeed, the use of electronic health records, and of health information technology as a whole, has the ability to transform the way health care is delivered across our nation. We believe that EHRs can help physicians deliver better, more efficient care for their patients, in part by reducing medical errors. This project is designed to demonstrate these benefits and help increase the use of this technology in practices where adoption has been the slowest – at the individual physician and small practice level.”

In March 2008, Dr. Medows, Commissioner, DCH, convened a group of physicians, heath insurance companies, medical associations, and other stakeholders, through a series of meetings to create the Georgia Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Community Partnership.

“The Georgia EHR Community Partnership looks forward to working with CMS to help physicians in Georgia address the barriers to EHR adoption,” said Dr. Rhonda Medows, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Community Health. “The Georgia EHR Community Partnership believes that the benefits of EHR far outweigh the challenges associated with implementation and the community recognizes the need to improve the quality and efficiency of Georgia’s health care system, in order to meet the growing demand for health care services in our state.”

Over a five-year period, the Georgia EHR Community Partnership program will work together to advance the goal of establishing a statewide strategy to enable health information to be readily available and transparent.

For more information about the Georgia HITT Initiative, visit

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