Providers will put Blue Shield ACO grant money toward EHRs, HIEs

Blue Shield of California is giving $20 million to 18 California hospitals, health systems, clinics, and physician groups to help them create accountable care organizations (ACOs). Some of the grants will be used to implement information systems, including health data exchanges, electronic health records and predictive modeling tools.

Blue Shield is providing the grants, which range from $300,000 to $2 million, to help meet its pledge to cap profits at 2 percent of revenues. Last week, the insurance company announced it would refund $283 million to its policyholders.

Blue Shield is doing more to boost ACOs than just giving grants. It has helped form three ACOs in Sacramento and San Francisco, and it plans to participate in other ACOs elsewhere in northern California.

The company received nearly 60 applications for the grants. The winners that proposed spending money on health IT include:

  • Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz County, which will create a real-time care management tracking system;
  • Chinese Community Healthcare Association, which will improve its electronic lab ordering system and enhance its EHR.
  • AltaMed Health Services Corp., which plans to implement a health information exchange;
  • Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, which will implement an EHR for 150 physicians, adopt an HIE, and develop a strategy to integrate clinical and claims data;
  • Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, which plans to build an "enhanced information platform linking providers," partly so it can accept bundled payments;
  • Brown & Toland Medical Group, a big San Francisco IPA, which will create an HIE to connect other information exchanges and physician offices;
  • St. Joseph Health System, which will expand its EHR system and introduce risk stratification and predictive modeling. 

To learn more:
- read the press release
- see the Health Data Management article