FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 31, 2012) — The Governor’s Office of Electronic Health Information (GOEHI) was recently awarded a $600,000 federal grant to improve health services for individuals with mental health or substance abuse conditions, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) announced today. Specifically, the grant will be used for the development of infrastructure to support the electronic exchange of health information among patients’ health care providers and the state’s community mental health centers.
Kentucky is one of five states to be awarded the funding, which comes from the Center for Integrated Health Solutions, a joint project of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources Services Administration.
“This is another confirmation of Kentucky’s prominence in the area of health information exchange,” said CHFS Secretary Janie Miller. “We have made great strides in the nationwide effort to develop an electronic health network, a complex undertaking that involves the transport and sharing of information from many different types of systems. This funding will greatly enhance our efforts as we branch out into behavioral health.”
The Center for Integrated Health Solutions promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance abuse conditions. The recent grant awards will be used for the development of infrastructure supporting the exchange of health information among behavioral health and physical health providers.
“If we are truly going to address the needs of those with substance abuse and mental health conditions, we need access to our patients’ complete records, including their primary health history,” said Stephen Hall, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. “This funding will help us more easily access that information so that we can better integrate services.”
Illinois, Maine, Oklahoma and Rhode Island also received the grant award.
“This funding will greatly benefit Kentucky’s community mental health centers, which will now be able to use the Kentucky Health Information Exchange to access records from patient’s primary care providers,” said Polly Mullins-Bentley, acting executive director of GOEHI . “This will lead to better record-keeping and tracking of patient history and, ultimately, the overall health of patients will be improved.”