Maine has received federal approval of a $6.6 million plan to expand and coordinate health information technology, Gov. John Baldacci announced.

In March, the federal government announced that Maine qualified for nearly $6.6 million over four years in Recovery Act funds for the effort. While a small portion of funds were available immediately, the remaining funds were contingent on approval of the plan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Also in March, the federal government awarded $4.7 million in Recovery Act funds to HealthInfoNet, Maine’s designated health information exchange program. Those funds are being used to support health care providers who adopt health information technology in their practice.

Maine is the sixth state to have its implementation plan approved by the department’s Office of the National Coordinator.

“This approval reflects Maine’s leadership in developing strategies to advance electronic medical records and, through the nonprofit Health InfoNet, assure that such information can be readily available all across the state whenever and wherever a patient and her provider needs access to it,” Baldacci said in the written announcement. “Electronic exchange of information speeds access to care, avoids unnecessary, costly repeat tests and helps prevent medical mistakes.”

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