The Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) presented the Chatham County Commission with the 2010 County of Excellence Award for their vision in creating and support of the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council. The Safety Net Planning Council was formed in 2004 as a way to standardize the collection of medical records, patient treatment and issuance of prescription drugs to poverty level and uninsured patients. The council also helps to steer these same patients seeking primary care away from emergency rooms and into treatment centers, clinics and specialists.
County Commission Chairman, Pete Liakakis is proud of the success of the council, saying, “The county’s created the Safety Net Planning Council as a way make healthcare more accessible to the uninsured without being a financial burden on the county. The county has saved millions of dollars not having to pay for emergency room visits and we’ve been able to spread out primary care to more places, making it more accessible.”
The Safety Net Planning Council recently implemented the first Health Information Exchange project in the state of Georgia. This project will link electronic medical records systems at J.C. Lewis Health Center and the Emergency Department at Memorial University Medical Center through a safe, secure electronic portals to a protected central database managed by the Safety Net Planning Council.
Safety Net Executive Director, Dr. Paula Reynolds is excited about the future of this project adding, “This pilot project will mature into a community-wide health information exchange for Chatham County. This information exchange project is expected to improve efficiencies by enabling health information to follow the patient and enhance quality of care by making information available for clinical decision support, regardless of where the patient comes in for health care.”