Doctors have extra reason to join records system

Doctors who want to sign up for a statewide electronic medical records system now have a new savings incentive — cold, hard cash.

The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, or CORHIO, will waive a one-time training fee of at least $2,000 for doctor practices that sign up before June 30. Training fees are based on the number of people in a practice, ranging up to as much as $5,000 for large practices, according to a CORHIO rate sheet. Monthly rates to use the system range from $10 to $35 for each provider at a doctor practice, according to the rate sheet.

Medical records in the online system are protected so only health-care providers can see them.

The exchange is receiving state and federal grants to get up and running, but is expected to be self-sustaining in the next couple of years through monthly fees charged to doctors and hospitals.

Broomfield Family Practice in Broomfield is one of the latest doctor practices to sign up for the electronic medical records system. Owner Dr. Susan Robertson said she is excited to see more protected records go online.

“Ultimately the cost of care will go down because patients won’t have tests repeated,” said Robertson.

Across Colorado, 27 hospitals, 348 doctor offices, 28 long-term and post acute-care facilities, two behavioral health centers and two medical laboratories are connected to CORHIO. Boulder Community Hospital and several doctor practices are signed up in Boulder; Children’s Hospital, which has a location in Broomfield, also recently signed up.

A star chiropractor

Boulder chiropractor Doug Kennedy stars in free exercise videos for patients that he posts on his website, colopainclinic.com.

Kennedy said he decided to put together the videos to give instructions to patients interested in doing exercises at home to deal with back and neck pain. Kennedy also offers stress-relief techniques as well as information about various musculoskeletal injuries and conditions such as whiplash.

While there’s a lot of advice for people about how to do exercises at the gym, there’s not much advice out there specifically from doctors, Kennedy said.

Many of the therapeutic exercises Kennedy performs on the videos are adapted from yoga and Pilates.

Kennedy said he plans to post more videos on wellness and stress-relief techniques people can do at home. He’s producing the short (three minutes or less) videos in his office with his own camera.

Healthy Kids program

The Boulder County Healthy Kids program played a key role in the state getting a $43 million bonus from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for 2012.

Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing received the funds for the state’s leadership in getting more children covered by health insurance in 2012. Since 2010, the state has received $94 million in performance bonuses for its success in administering a variety of public health-care programs for residents.

From 2008 through 2010, more than 40,000 children in Colorado gained insurance, according to a press release from the state agency. In Boulder County, close to 13,000 children, parents and pregnant women have gained insurance through Medicaid since the program started in 2008, said Mae Hsu, manager of the Boulder County Healthy Kids program.

“Eligibility technicians” at schools across the county and at Salud Family Health Centers in Longmont and Clinica Family Health Services in Boulder look for children who might be eligible for Medicaid, Hsu said.

Children across Colorado are enrolled based on applications for free and reduced-price lunch programs at schools, according to the press release.

Ninety-eight percent of families who apply for medical benefits through the Healthy Kids program receive Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus coverage, which is a low-cost insurance program for children and pregnant women. The Healthy Kids program can pay an enrollment fee for the Child Health Plan Plus coverage for families that can’t afford it with funds from the Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Trust.

The Boulder County program has 20 employees spread out across the county.

Across the state, surveys show that an estimated 8 percent to 10 percent of children remain uninsured — meaning that about 120,000 Colorado kids still don’t have coverage.

Beth Potter can be reached at 303-630-1944 or bpotter@bcbr.com.

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