Slaughter Applauds $16.1 Million Award for Buffalo HEALTHeLINK’s Electronic Medical Records Program

May 2010

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) hailed the announcement that Buffalo has been selected as one of 15 pilot communities nationwide to test and develop a new electronic medical records program. Slaughter said that the stimulus grant will improve health care for area residents with diabetes by reducing medical mistakes, improving efficiency among physicians and staff and improving the delivery of services in coming years.

HEALTHeLINK, one of the leading clinical information exchanges in the country formed by Western New York’s hospitals, has been awarded $16.1 million in federal stimulus money to setup electronic medical records which will lead to a decrease in emergency room visits, improve immunization and improve primary and specialty care for diabetic patients.

HEALTHeLINK is a not-for-profit organization formed by the Catholic Health System of Buffalo, the Erie County Medical Center Corporation, HealthNow New York, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Excellus.

The official announcement is expected today from Vice President Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius at an event celebrating Recovery Act. The news comes as part of a larger federal effort to help local communities by investing in health IT, which is geared towards replacing paper records with electronic ones.

“This is a fantastic use of federal stimulus dollars putting Buffalo at the forefront of patient care,” said Slaughter. “Health care is moving into the 21st century. Investments in electronic medical records will reduce health care costs and improve patient care all while pioneering the new health IT industry.”
Slaughter has been a supporter of integrating electronic medical records into Western New York’s health system and in February wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting funding for the HEALTHeLINK.

On Friday, the newest set of Recovery Act data was posted online showing $156 million awarded to the 28th Congressional District just in the last quarter which created or saved over 300 jobs according to the recipients that were awarded the funds.

Since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009, more than $330 million in Recovery Act investments have been made in the 28th District. These essential funds have slowed the recession, filled crippling budget gaps in state and local governments that would have left teachers and police out of work, and invested millions in local small businesses, scientific research and transportation projects.

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