RIQI to Receive an Additional $400,000 for Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center

Jan 31, 2011 Issues: Health Care

Washington, DC – Rhode Island’s congressional delegation today announced that the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI) will receive an additional $404,775 from the Department of Health and Human Services to fund Rhode Island’s health information technology regional extension center.  Funded by a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which Senator Sheldon Whitehouse authored, this award is in addition to the $6 million RIQI received nearly a year ago to start the program.

“This important investment will provide Rhode Island’s health care providers with the resources and support necessary to quickly become meaningful users and purveyors of electronic health records,” said Senator Jack Reed. “Improving and updating health information technology will reduce costs and strengthen our health care delivery system throughout the country, and I commend Senator Whitehouse for the hard work he has done on this issue.”

“This is yet another great investment in Rhode Island’s health care delivery system which will help people receive better care,  reduce costs, and provide an example for the nation to follow,” said Whitehouse, the founder of RIQI.  “Once again, Rhode Island is proving to be the nation’s leader in health information technology, and I commend RIQI for their work.”

“More timely and accurate information allows us to make better decisions.  This simple notion is the driving force behind health information technology and has already begun to revolutionize health care delivery.  The additional funding Rhode Island receives will keep us at the forefront of innovation by ensuring doctors have the technologies to make better medical decisions and provide safer, more effective care,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

“Today’s funding announcement for the Rhode Island Quality Institute demonstrates our state’s continued commitment to providing the highest quality health care services for Rhode Islanders,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “This investment in health information technology ensures better access to medical records for physicians, which, in turn, will lead to reduced costs and better health care for patients.”

Rhode Island is the only state to have received all three HIT grants funded by ARRA.  To date, RIQI has been awarded a $15.9 million Beacon Communities Grant, $5.28 million Health Information Exchange Award, and the previously mentioned $6 million Regional Extension Center Grant.

Senator Whitehouse has been a champion of health information technology since his time as Rhode Island’s Attorney General.  In 2001, then Attorney General Whitehouse recognized that, despite Rhode Island’s small size, the health care community operated in silos.  Believing that the state needed a unified voice to address the issue of health care quality, he founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), a collaboration focused on producing significant, measurable improvements in health care quality, safety, and value in the state.