ACO Epic EHR Implementation Set to Enhance Care Coordination

A Massachusetts ACO has announced an Epic EHR implementation at 12 of its 18 health centers in efforts to support care coordination.

Community Care Cooperative (C3), a Massachusetts accountable care organization (ACO), has announced an Epic EHR implementation that aims to boost care coordination.

The partnership will initiate Epic EHR implementations at 12 of C3’s 18 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).

“Through bringing high-quality care to the most underserved populations, including people of all races and ethnicities, FQHCs have become woven into the fabric of the communities they serve,” Christina Severin, president and CEO of C3, said in a press release. “But in order to continue in their public-service mission, they need modern information technology.”

The implementation aims to enhance care coordination for underprivileged populations in pursuit of health equity.

“Given our health centers’ growing value and critical community health roles, now is the moment for us to contract with Epic, ensuring our health centers have equitable access to the same EHR technology that our Commonwealth’s health systems have had for years,” she added.

While C3 and the associated FQHCs will sustain annual operating costs of the EHR system, Governor Charlie Baker passed a bill that supports initial implementation costs with a one-time $5M payment from Massachusetts’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding.

Julian Cyr (D-Truro), state senator and assistant majority whip, played an instrumental role in supporting the bill’s provisions.

“It is vital that we allocate American Rescue Plan dollars where they can do the most good for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents,” Cyr said in a statement. “No one has a better track record of reaching those in need than our community health centers.”

“With these dollars, Massachusetts’ community health centers will have the necessary technology to provide essential care and ensure patients have access to the services they need,” he continued.

Representative Michael Moran (D-Boston), assistant majority leader, was also a strong advocate for the use of ARPA funding on FQHC health IT investments.

“It’s urgent that conversion to Epic begin now,” Moran said. “It will ensure FQHCs are prepared for the next public health emergency and that they continue to be Massachusetts’s leaders in primary care for people of all races, ethnicities, and languages spoken, regardless of their ability to pay.”

The 12 FQHCs collectively provide 1.5 million clinical visits per year, including behavioral health, dental and eye care, and essential social services.

“By contracting with the best-in-class EHR system, we can improve coordination of care for our patients and ensure that caregivers everywhere, regardless of location or facility, are better informed on patient treatment that has been provided elsewhere,” noted Cheryl Bartlett, CEO of Greater New Bedford Community Health Center.

“Conversion to Epic enables us to improve care and satisfaction for our patients while lowering costs through decreased duplication of services,” Bartlett added. “It’s a win for our patients and for the people of Massachusetts.”

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