Initial Phase of EHR Adoption Will Improve Coordination of Care at 12 Federally Qualified Health Centers Providing 1.5 Million Clinical Visits Per Year
$5M Payment Authorization from Massachusetts’s American Rescue Plan Provides Funding for Initial Conversion Costs
Boston, MA December 15, 2021 – Community Care Cooperative (C3), the non-profit Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that advances community-based care for MassHealth members through its network of 18 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) throughout the state, today announces that it has contracted with Epic, the most widely-used and comprehensive electronic health records (EHR) system. This agreement will initiate the conversion to Epic for 12 FQHCs across the Commonwealth ensuring a best-in-class system for their historically under-resourced patient populations, comprised of low-income communities and communities of color.
“Through bringing high-quality care to the most underserved populations, including people of all races and ethnicities, FQHCs have become woven into the fabric of the communities they serve. But in order to continue in their public-service mission, they need modern information technology,” said Christina Severin, President and CEO of C3. “Given our health centers’ growing value and critical community health roles, now is the moment for us to contract with Epic, ensuring our health centers have equitable access to the same EHR technology that our Commonwealth’s health systems have had for years.”
“C3 is broadening access to the vital, high-quality services that FQHCs bring to their communities,” said Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO of Epic Systems. “An integrated EHR will help C3 and its health centers improve community health and support precision medicine wherever their patients seek care.”
While C3 and the associated health centers will support ongoing annual operating costs of Epic’s EHR system, help with initial implementation costs was provided through a one-time $5M payment from Massachusetts’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding, which was approved in a spending bill signed on Monday, December 13, 2021, by Governor Charlie Baker. State Senator and Assistant Majority Whip Julian Cyr and State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader Michael Moran were instrumental in championing the bill’s provisions that made the funding possible.
“It’s urgent that conversion to Epic begin now,” said Rep. Moran (D-Boston). “It will ensure FQHCs are prepared for the next public health emergency and that they continue to be Massachusetts’s leaders in primary care for people of all races, ethnicities, and languages spoken, regardless of their ability to pay.”
“It is vital that we allocate American Rescue Plan dollars where they can do the most good for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “No one has a better track record of reaching those in need than our community health centers. With these dollars, Massachusetts’ community health centers will have the necessary technology to provide essential care and ensure patients have access to the services they need.”
C3 will now lead the conversation to Epic, implementing the EHR system initially across 12 interested health centers, which collectively provide 1.5 million clinical visits per year including vital behavioral health, dental and eye care, and essential social services linking patients and community members to health insurance, housing, food, and other supports.
“By contracting with the best-in-class EHR system, we can improve coordination of care for our patients and ensure that caregivers everywhere, regardless of location or facility, are better informed on patient treatment that has been provided elsewhere,” said Cheryl Bartlett, CEO of Greater New Bedford Community Health Center. “Conversion to Epic enables us to improve care and satisfaction for our patients while lowering costs through decreased duplication of services. It’s a win for our patients and for the people of Massachusetts.”
Community Care Cooperative (C3) is a 501(c)(3) Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that leverages the proven best practices of ACOs throughout the country and is the only ACO in Massachusetts founded and governed by Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and exclusively focused on advancing integrated and coordinated community-based care for MassHealth members. C3 works with its 18 member FQHCs to strengthen health centers across the state, and continued growth enables C3 to better serve MassHealth members across the Commonwealth. To view a list of C3 health centers, click here.