State

Valley clinics get grant for electronic records

Several community health centers in the San Joaquin Valley will benefit from a $3 million federal grant to pay for electronic health record systems.

The nonprofit Golden Valley Health Centers of Merced was the lead agency for the grant announced Thursday by the Health and Human Services Department and will share the funding with other health centers. The money comes from the economic recovery bill.

The money will be used to install or improve electronic record systems at Golden Valley centers in Merced and Stanislaus counties, at Livingston Medical Group, Community Medical Centers of Stockton, and health clinics in Fresno and Kern counties, said Michael Sullivan, Golden Valley's chief executive officer.

About half of the Golden Valley clinics are on electronic records, he said. The Ceres health center is among clinics still using paper records.

"This will give us the funding to hopefully in the next two years get all of our sites on electronic records," Sullivan said.

With electronic records, doctors are given easy access to patient information, including their medical histories and medication they are taking. Sullivan said the health care networks covered by the grant use the same computer technology, so they are able to collaborate in upgrading their systems.

Golden Valley has enjoyed success in securing federal stimulus money. Before the latest grant, it received $13.2 million — $9.5 million to build a senior care center in Merced, $2.5 million to improve facilities in Stanislaus County and $1.2 million to hire health workers.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or 578-2321.

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