Washington and Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC)
What is the Washington and Idaho Regional Extension Center?
The HITECH Act authorizes a Health Information Technology Extension Program. The extension program consists of Regional Extension Centers and a national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC). The regional centers will offer technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate health care providers' efforts to become meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The regional centers will support at least 100,000 primary care providers nationally, through participating non-profit organizations, in achieving meaningful use of EHRs and enabling nationwide health information exchange. The Washington and Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) is funded by DHHS through Qualis Health in Seattle. Partners include Community Choice Healthcare Network, Inland Northwest Health Services, PTSO of Washington, Idaho Health Data Exchange, and North Idaho Health Network.
What are the benefits to participation?
Nationwide, the Regional Extension Centers are intended to provide vendor-neutral technical assistance related to the selection, implementation and use of electronic health record systems (EHRs). Participating providers will receive technical assistance around the adoption of EHR technology, tailored to their needs to help them achieve "meaningful use" and to qualify for meaningful use incentive funding through Medicare and Medicaid.
What will WIREC funds pay for?
WIREC funds will reimburse Community Choice for expenses incurred in providing technical assistance to providers to help them reach meaningful use. Community Choice may contract with experts and/or local IT resources to provide these services.Reimbursement is based on individual providers meeting "Go Live" and "Meaningful Use" milestones. The focus of WIREC technical assistance is on primary care providers in practices of 10 or fewer practitioners. WIREC funds will not pay to upgrade EHR systems or to purchase new EHR systems. Technical assistance funded through WIREC will include the following:
- EHR Selection Assistance (including vendor selection, individual purchase, and group purchase)
- EHR Implementation (including onsite technical assistance, assistance with new features and upgrades, and project management support)
- HIT-Related Workflow (including onsite workflow redesign, updating roles and responsibilities for clinical and support staff, and using rapid cycle feedback to design continuous quality improvement activities)
- Exchange of Health Information (administrative transactions, lab orders and results, prescriptions, etc.) (Technical assistance to ensure continuity of care)
- Privacy and Security (including technical assistance regarding the implementation and maintenance of physical and network security, designing user-based access controls, planning for disaster recovery, developing encryption and backup media storage procedures, and creating human resources training and policies)
What is the timetable for the project?
Enrollment of eligible providers has already begun. These services are funded with WIREC funds and there are no costs to participating providers or practices.
For additional information about WIREC, please visit, wirecqh.org