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ND Community Health Centers Benefiting From Stimulus

June 8, 2009

Fargo, ND – Someday, Community Health Centers across North Dakota will be equipped with electronic health records that will keep health care costs down by preventing test duplication. That someday is today, thanks to money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Patricia Patron with the Family Healthcare Center in Fargo says implementing electronic records is a must.

"It provides the ability for health care providers to understand what medications patients are taking, where they have been seen, what kind of history they have, when they access services. It is vital for occasions when patients have to access services at emergency rooms."

She says 2.5 billion dollars was set aside nationally for upgrading health records and other improvements, with a portion of the money coming to North Dakota. Patron says this infusion of money is critical.

"All the Community Health Centers in the state are really ready. We have a lot of needs that we haven't been able to meet in the last few years, and this stimulus funding is really going to help us get those taken care of."

Patron says switching to electronic health records from the old paper files improves patient safety for North Dakotans who rely on Community Health centers.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND