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Hudson Valley Physician Testifies Before House Health Subcommittee Tuesday About Incentives for Adoption of Health Information Technology
Date:7/19/2010

Eugene Heslin, MD of Bridge Street Medical Group will discuss use of health IT in his small practice with House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health July 20

FISHKILL, N.Y., July 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If a small general medical practice in Saugerties, NY can use new health IT tools to deliver safer, more efficient health care for its patients, so can practices across the nation. That is the message Eugene Heslin, MD, lead physician at Bridge Street Medical Group, will bring to the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health, Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Beginning in October, billions in Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments will become available to health care providers who can demonstrate "meaningful use" of electronic health records. The long-awaited final rule for what constitutes meaningful use was released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services July 13. House Committee on Ways and Means health subcommittee members invited Heslin to testify about the role incentives may play as providers move to adopt health information technology.

Heslin, who has used electronic health records in his six-physician practice since 2006, is on the leading edge of health information technology adoption. In 2009, Bridge Street Medical Group was among 11 practices with 237 primary care physicians operating at 51 sites across the Hudson Valley that adopted the patient-centered medical home model and used health IT to support his practice redesign to this new approach to care.

"I speak on behalf of my patients, representing their stake in health IT," Heslin said. "Ultimately, my patients are why meaningful use of health IT is important."  Although financing and practice workflow redesign are challenges for small practices, he said the federal incentives "can help me persuade my colleagues that there is critical mass, that it is doable at the community level, and that they need to move now along the same pathway to benefit their patients and the community."

Heslin said that the time is now "to develop efficiencies and logic systems that allow us to rationalize care—to care for our patients using more intelligent tools, more efficiently—and not ration care. Meaningful use moves us in that direction."  As the Medicare population doubles over the next 20 years, the number of more complex patients will increase at the same time the number of primary care physicians is decreasing.

Heslin is a founding board member of the Taconic Health Information Network and Community (THINC), the non-profit, local convener of health care organizations designated as a local extension under the Federal Regional Extension Center (REC) program. THINC is part of the Hudson Valley Initiative, which works collaboratively with Taconic IPA and MedAllies to support adoption of health IT in the Hudson Valley. Heslin also serves on the board of New York's eHealth Collaborative, a public-private partnership for statewide health care stakeholders to collaborate on state and regional IT policy and implementation efforts, and is board chairman of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, a hospital system that integrates two fee-for-service and one critical access facility.  He is a board-certified family practitioner and earned his medical degree from the University of Texas at Houston.

More information on the Hudson Valley Initiative ideas and initiatives to improve health care quality can be found at www.hudsonvalleyinitiative.com.

About the Hudson Valley Initiative

The Hudson Valley Initiative is an effort among three organizations—Taconic IPA, Taconic Health Information Network and Community and Me dallies--to revolutionize health care delivery through a shared vision to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care in the community. These three organizations leverage health information technology, physician practice transformation and value-based purchasing in pursuit of care delivery that is patient-centered, coordinated, accessible, high quality, and efficiently delivered through sustainable financial models. To learn more, go to http://www.hudsonvalleyinitiative.com.

For information about the hearing go to: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=11260


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SOURCE Hudson Valley Initiative
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