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$800K in Grants to Help Clinics with Patient Access to Clinical Notes

The grants will help launch projects allowing patient access to clinical notes and support clinic access to technical assistance and peer learning.

A nearly $800,000 grant package from NYHealth and OpenNotes is set to help primary care providers and federally qualified health centers in expanding patient access to clinical notes, the organizations have announced.

The grant, split across 14 healthcare organizations that are not hospitals, also aims to help clinics fulfill requirements under the 21st Century Cures Act.

Patient access to clinical notes, referred to as open notes and championed by advocacy organization OpenNotes, is key to patient engagement. Patients who have access to their own health data and provider notes tend to be more activated, ask more questions, and remember their treatment plans, which can lead to better treatment adherence.

In 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated the open notes philosophy through the 21st Century Cures Act. Clinician notes fall under information blocking provisions, meaning that patients have a right to free and unfettered access to those notes.

NYHealth and OpenNotes said the grants, awarded to clinics and FQHCs that responded to a request for proposals (RFP), aim to fill in any remaining compliance gaps with the open notes requirements.

Building on a previous project tailored to hospitals, NYHealth is using these grants to turn its attention to non-hospital organizations. The foundation said these practices are instrumental in delivering primary care, which usually generates the provider notes that are critical to patient self-management.

NYHealth and OpenNotes selected 14 non-hospital systems—meaning organizations like health clinics and FQHCs—to receive the grants. NYHealth and OpenNotes will also provide grantees with technical assistance and access to peer-learning opportunities.

Participating organizations treat diverse patient populations, NYHealth and OpenNotes added. Patients hail from all over New York state and represent various demographic groups such as populations of color, low-income folks, immigrants and refugees, non-English speakers, members of the LGBTQ community, homebound seniors, people facing homelessness, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Specifically, awardees include:

  • Advantage Care Health Centers
  • Anthony L. Jordan Health Center
  • BMS Family Health and Wellness Centers (Brownsville Community Development Corporation)
  • Doctors United
  • Jericho Road Community Health Center
  • La Casa de Salud
  • Mosaic Health
  • Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation
  • Saratoga Community Health Center
  • St. John’s Medical Group (Episcopal Health Services)
  • Syracuse Community Health
  • The Door – A Center of Alternatives
  • Union Community Health Center
  • VIP Community Services

NYHealth also announced that it issued grant funding to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts. The grant will help BIDMC, which is where the national OpenNotes program office is located, offer technical assistance to the 14 New York-based grantees.

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