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(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today announced that New Hampshire will receive federal support to begin the process of implementing an electronic health record incentive program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The $335,000 in federal matching funds will go to the state Medicaid program to help develop a plan for a statewide health information technology infrastructure that will improve the quality of health care for New Hampshire families. 

"Improving the quality and efficiency of health care for New Hampshire families has been a priority of mine in the Senate, and the transition to electronic health records is an important part of that effort," said Shaheen.  "Electronic health records will reduce costly medical errors and make it easier for patients to coordinate their care between doctors and hospitals.  This will improve the care patients receive and save our country billions of dollars in the years ahead."

The Recovery Act included a number of provisions aimed at promoting the meaningful use of electronic health records, including a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities to administer incentive payments to Medicaid providers, to ensure their proper payments through audits and to participate in statewide efforts to promote interoperability and meaningful use of electronic health record technology statewide and, eventually, across the nation.

"These funds are a critical component of New Hampshire's eHealth strategy, and their use to develop the plan for health technology incentives will provide needed funding for our Medicaid providers," said Ned Helms, Director of the New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire will use its federal matching funds for planning activities that include conducting a comprehensive analysis to determine the current status of health information technology activities in the state.  As part of that process, New Hampshire will gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of electronic health records, provider eligibility for incentive payments, and the creation of a state Medicaid health information technology plan, which will define the state's vision for its long-term use.