State offers free EHRs to Medicaid docs

Wyoming's Department of Health, in collaboration with web-based electronic health record provider Medical Informatics Engineering, announced the Equality State is the first in the nation to offer free, fully certified EHR systems to its Medicaid providers. The health department confirmed the news in a phone call with FierceEMR.

"By offering a free EHR to Medicaid providers, we are able to test the notion of electronic health records with minimal risk to the physician while also integrating all health data from participating Medicaid physicians into the Wyoming Department of Health's HIE," James Bush, M.D., medical director of the Wyoming Department of Health, said in a statement. "This gives us a big picture look at the state's biggest health issues and helps us strategically address these issues."

The program, which was launched in 2011, now has 31,000 patients registered in the EHRs, with the data also flowing automatically in the Department of Health's health information exchange (HIE). Providers in the state have received "several million dollars" in meaningful use incentive payments due to the donation program.

The program is also improving the treatment of Medicaid patients. For instance, electronic tools in the EHRs have flagged more than 2,000 patients who were noncompliant with their cardiology medications.

This is not the first time that rural states have stepped up to the plate to help their providers, who are struggling with EHR adoption. Colorado's HIE and regional extension center CORHIO and the Colorado Telehealth Network are working to improve the state's broadband connectivity and offer it at an affordable rate to support EHRs. South Dakota is thinking of offering other methods of connectivity to make up for the lack of broadband.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out this article
- here's an announcement from CORHIO
- read about South Dakota's struggles