White House Names WNY for Health Care IT

September 27, 2013 Updated May 4, 2010 at 6:47 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 4, 2010 at 6:47 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) -- A Western New York health care coalition has been chosen out of 130 applicants to receive federal stimulus money to create a pilot electronic medical records program, White House officials announced on Tuesday.

HEALTHeLINK, a coalition that includes WCA Hospital, Catholic Health System, ECMC, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Independent Health, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Univera Healthcare, will receive $16.1 million, the largest amount of stimulus money.

"It's a great vote of confidence in Western New York's ability to be a leader in demonstrating that we can embrace the tools of health care reform and deliver it much more effectively and much more efficiently," said Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo).

The grant will be used to coordinate health information technologies with local doctors and hospitals with the aim of reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and saving money.

At Women & Children's Hospital, an outpatient clinic switched to electronic health records (EHR) six weeks ago.

"We can check medications that other doctors ordered," said Dr. Laura Heimback-Graham.

"We can see X-rays that were done. You don't have to call. You don't have to fax. Click, it's right there on your screen," she said.

The grant is expected to create dozens of local jobs, Higgins said.