The Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded three states, Maine, Alaska and Montana to improve the quality of health and critical healthcare services for veterans living in rural areas, through The Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program.
The funding was awarded to the Maine CDC’s Rural Health and Primary Care Program, which is partnering with HealthInfoNet to connect the VA Maine Healthcare System to the health information exchange. This includes the medical center located in Augusta and 11 outpatient clinics.
Recent projections from the VA Office of Rural Health show 12.8% of Maine residents are veterans, the fifth highest per capita population in the country. Because Maine is a large rural state, access to VA facilities can be challenging and veterans must also seek care from their community’s private hospitals, mental health providers, community health centers and physician practices. This makes it difficult for both a veteran’s VA and private providers to coordinate their care, something critical to improving quality and reducing costs.
Many of Maine’s private providers are connected to Maine’s HIE to help them more easily share a patient’s medical information when necessary. But for veterans, the care they receive in Maine’s VA facilities is not accessible through the HIE and VA providers are unable to access information from private providers using the system. This means providers are often unaware of services their patients receive outside the VA or private health care systems.
This funding will bridge a critical gap in care coordination by facilitating both a veteran’s VA and private providers to share critical health information when it’s needed to care for them, regardless of where that veteran is treated. With this connection in place, VA providers now have access to the statewide HIE and veterans will be able to choose to share their VA records with private providers also using the HIE. Learn more about VLER Health Information Exchange.
For more information contact Program Director: Katie Sendze at 207-541-9250 or firstname.lastname@example.org