Newsletter Article

Semi-Statewide EHR Launches With 3 Pilot Counties

Key staff: John Fitzgerald, Chief Informatics Officer

In partnership with 23 counties, CalMHSA is building a semi-statewide electronic health record (EHR) with a groundbreaking design that is truly customized for behavioral health providers that will be live by July. The EHR is now up and running in the first three pilot counties – Imperial, Lake, and Glenn.

In Imperial County, Anais Lopez, access unit program supervisor, was an early user of the EHR. “The process of verifying Medi-Cal eligibility has been significantly simplified,” she said. “We’re now able to verify eligibility and update it within the new EHR at the time of scheduling an appointment. This will improve the experience of clients when attending their first appointment by reducing their check-in time and will help them focus more on their treatment and less on the paperwork.”

The primary goal of the EHR is to improve the lives of Californians who turn to county behavioral health departments for care. CalMHSA will work with the three pilot counties to learn, analyze, and refine the system in time to go live with all remaining counties by July 1, which coincides with the timing of some of the CalAIM requirements counties are working toward. The system is being built to integrate all CalAIM changes, including documentation redesign, payment reform, and data exchange.

New developments in the EHR’s evolution toward the July 1 implementation dates include:

  • Innovation Project funding from the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission for participation by 11 counties, with nearly $30 million designated to procure, implement, and maintain the EHR.
  • A full slate of trainings to prepare counties with a foundation for performing daily tasks in the EHR. Most training is computer-based and includes user manuals, learning management system courses, and Zoom office hours.
  • A Help Desk vendor to assist counties with ongoing needs and questions

CalMHSA’s design focuses on clinicians and other direct service staff, so they can focus as much of their attention as possible on delivering care. While it will be rolled out with all participating counties by July 1, CalMHSA will continue to expand and evolve the EHR in service of helping counties continually innovate their work.

March 28, 2023