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HTA steps up to help implement EHR systems for Grassroots Crisis Center and Volunteers of America.

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Health Tech Alley (HTA) is helping two Maryland nonprofits that serve the homeless and those in crisis to stay open and keep serving the community. Without these organizations in the community, thousands of Central Maryland residents would be left without needed support to lead healthy lives.

State requirements to improve coordination of health and behavioral health services mean both Grassroots Crisis Center and Volunteers of America (VOA) must implement Behavioral Electronic Health Records systems that work with Maryland Medicaid. They must implement EHR systems before July 1, 2022 to continue to receive Medicaid reimbursements, which provide critical funding for their services. But neither organization knew how to select and implement an EHR system, nor had the resources for this process.

To empower these nonprofits, Health Tech Alley (HTA) has stepped up to provide capacity-building and technical assistance funded through a Scaling Pandemic Resilience thru Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge Grant authorized through the CARES Act, as administered by US Economic Development Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Howard County based Grassroots Executive Director Mariana Izraelson said,

“Without implementing an EHR to keeping our Medicaid funding, Grassroots could not stay open. But this is all new to us, so we didn’t know where to turn. We are so glad HTA can work with us to develop requirements, select a vendor, and implement a new EHR. This will literally make a life or death difference for our clients and callers in crisis.”

In 2020, Grassroots provided over 21,430 shelter nights, answered 33,474 crisis calls, and provided 3,689 in-person counseling, substance abuse, and mobile crisis services. VOA served over 120 adults and children with behavioral health and primary care at the VOA Hope Center in Maryland, and served 11,441 people across all their programs in 2020.

Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas Executive Director of Organizational Excellence Geneva Tiggle said when Robert Zimmerman of HTA reached out to offer help, it could not have happened at a better time, and she is so glad to be partnering with HTA on a new behavioral health EHR for VOA.

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