Health Care Foundations Announce $4.5 Million Program to Speed Adoption of Electronic Records in Community Clinics

Three leading health care foundations announced the creation of a $4.5 million grant making program to speed the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) in California community clinics and health centers.

The new California Network for Electronic Health Record Adoption is a collaboration of the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and the Community Clinics Initiative, a joint project of the Tides Foundation and The California Endowment. Each organization has committed approximately $1.5 million to the three-year effort to assist community clinics in implementing EHR systems.

Due primarily to the additional costs and lack of technical expertise to aid in the transition from paper records, fewer than 5% of the more than 500 community clinics and health center sites in California use an EHR system to manage patients’ medical care. But the need for more effective health information management in California community clinics, which served nearly 3,000,000 patients in 2004, is great given that they serve primarily a low-income client base that largely speaks English as a second language, may be transient, and often lacks access to a consistent primary care provider.

The foundations will work together over the next three years to develop at least three centralized EHR support hubs that will provide technology, technical support, vendor management and other services that community clinics require for EHR adoption but typically cannot afford on their own. In addition, the Cisco Foundation will provide an on-loan senior management “fellow” to provide technical expertise and lead the design effort.

“The use of EHR systems promotes higher quality and more efficient health care, but the implementation costs are too high for most individual clinics,” said Crystal Hayling, president of the Blue Shield of California Foundation. “This new collaboration will further increase the adoption of EHR at clinics around the state so that they can more effectively serve our most vulnerable residents.”

“We are confident that by increasing the use of EHR technology and opportunities for standardization and centralization, California community clinics will be able to more efficiently and effectively provide their critically important services to those who most need them,” said Dr. Sophia Chang, director of Chronic Disease Care of the California HealthCare Foundation.

“Community clinics provide a lifeline for millions of uninsured and underinsured Californians. This important project will help clinics throughout the state to improve health outcomes in underserved communities,” said Ellen Friedman, vice president of Tides and managing director of CCI.

Eligible organizations are invited to submit a Letter of Intent by June 9 and a full proposal by the July 15, 2006, deadline. More information and the request for proposals can be obtained at

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About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.