Florida Health Policy Center Publishes Its First Brief—WPHF is a Founding Member

The Florida Health Policy Center (FHPC), a new collaborative of Florida foundations organized by the Winter Park Health Foundation, has published its first issue brief, “An Electronic Medical Network in Florida: How Much Will It Cost?”

The brief is designed to educate Floridians about the cost and value of investing in an electronic health-data network which holds the possibility of better, safer health-care. It can be viewed by going to www.FloridaHealthPolicyCenter.org

Representatives of the FHPC have been asked to provide information included in the brief at an upcoming committee meeting of the Florida Legislature.

The Florida Health Information Network (FHIN), part of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), promotes the creation of regional health exchanges and a statewide infrastructure to transfer information between systems. FHIN initiatives mesh with a federal agenda to develop a nationwide medical-data network.

According to the brief, Florida regional health information organizations need $51 million over three years to launch the state and local communication networks. AHCA has requested $7.7 million for the Florida Health Information Network (FHIN) Grants Program which provides funding for the regional health exchanges for fiscal year 2007-2008. Gov. Charlie Crist has proposed $3.8 million in funding for the FHIN grant program, which includes planning, implementation, training and technical-assistance.

Interested citizens can track the status of appropriation bills, including the FHIN grants (#177), at http://peoplesbudget.state.fl.us

The Florida Health Policy Center, is a unique collaborative of Florida Foundations dedicated to furthering access to neutral and objective health information.  The members are Winter Park Health Foundation, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Florida Philanthropic Network, Health Foundation of South Florida, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Palm Healthcare Foundation and Quantum Foundation.