Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center




Health IT News

CHITREC Reaches Enrollment Goal of Primary Care Providers

CHICAGO – The Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC) has reached its 100 percent target goal of enrolling 1,486 priority primary care providers to provide individualized assistance in becoming meaningful users of electronic health records (EHRs). 
CHITREC has now signed up 1,357 providers for its Direct Assistance Program, with 1,523 providers participating in total.
“We are excited to achieve this important milestone and be able to provide assistance to more than 1500 primary care providers in Chicago,” says Dr. Abel Kho, the center’s co-executive director. “Achieving widespread and meaningful use of electronic health records is a key to improving the health of all Chicagoans.”
CHITREC is one of 62 regional extension centers around the nation helping primary care providers with EHR implementation, as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) signed into law in 2009. CHITREC has been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Chicago’s source for assistance, guidance and information on best practices to support health care providers in the adoption and “Meaningful Use” of electronic health records. By understanding the technical and regulatory environment, CHITREC assesses individual and network needs and bridges the gaps by effectively directing appropriate resources.
The center is a federally funded project based at Northwestern University. The university received $8.2 million in grant funds to support 1,486 eligible primary care providers as they adopt, implement and achieve Meaningful Use of EHRs by April 2014. Under the law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in concert with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, have created these programs to define Meaningful Use of EHRs and to create a mechanism for distributing incentive payments to successful participants.
”From the onset we’ve recognized that success would depend on our ability to understand and align with local healthcare providers,” Kho says. “Thanks to tremendous support from stakeholders throughout Chicago, we’ve built a broad and strong foundation, and are eager to continue our work helping health care providers transition to electronic health records.” 
By October, CHITREC had developed partnerships with every Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) facility in the City of Chicago. CHITREC is now focused on finding small practice providers who provide care for the uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved.
Providers interested in adopting an EHR system can still qualify for CHITREC’s Direct Assistance program. CHITREC has approximately 150 slots available for qualifying providers in the 606xx area code. Currently, CHITREC helps primary care providers including: physicians (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology) and other health care professionals (Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Certified Nurse-Midwives) with prescribing privileges in small group practices (10 or fewer providers); public and critical access hospitals; community health; and other ambulatory settings that predominantly serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved populations.
CHITREC hopes to develop services for all Chicago doctors, including specialists, in the near future.
Priority primary care providers who are interested in adopting and receiving educational training should contact CHITREC to learn more and register. Questions can be directed to Adam Williams by phone at (312) 503-6461 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Click here to read the full press release.
About the Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC)

The Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC) is based at Northwestern University that has partnerships formed with the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services and more than 40 local and national collaborators focused on health information technology adoption and use needs within the city of Chicago. CHITREC is a local service organization, specifically serving the 606xx zip code region in Chicago, and provides a range of services to primary care providers interested in achieving Meaningful Use of electronic health records. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has provided initial funding for the regional extension center with most of the funds allocated for direct assistance to providers.