CommonWell Health Alliance expands with seven new members
CommonWell Health Alliance (Minneapolis, MN) added seven new members to its nationwide health-data initiative. The additions expand CommonWell into ambulatory, imaging, EMS solutions, and consumer-direct markets. The new members are:

  • eClinicalWorks (Westborough, MA)
  • lifeIMAGE (Newton, MA)
  • Modernizing Medicine (Boca Raton, FL)
  • HIMSS (Chicago, IL)
  • ImageTrend (Lakeville, MN)
  • Mana Health (New York, NY)
  • MediPortal (New York, NY)

NewYork-Presbyterian establishes patient tracking center
NewYork-Presbyterian (New York, NY) established a dedicated patient tracking center to better coordinate patient flow and transfer between hospital departments. Located at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center (New York, NY), the center integrates existing teletracking systems and patient flow information to ensure more efficient admissions and placement processes. Similar centers will be constructed at NewYork-Presbyterian’s other main campuses later in 2016.

VA healthcare system strengthened by $182B budget
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (Washington, DC) is looking at a 2017 budget of $182.3 billion to support the health system’s ongoing transformation and expand access to timely, high-quality healthcare and benefits. Specific categories within the healthcare budget are: $12.2 billion for care in the community; $8.5 billion for long-term care; $7.8 billion for mental health care; $1.5 billion for Hepatitis-C treatments; $725 million for caregivers; $601 million for spinal-cord injuries; $284 million for traumatic brain injuries; $1.2 billion in telehealth funding, which helps patients monitor chronic healthcare conditions and increases access to care, especially in rural and remote locations; $515 million for healthcare services specifically designed for women; $836 million for the activation of new and enhanced healthcare facilities; $900 million for construction projects; and $171 million for improved customer service by providing an integrated services delivery platform. For a full listing of programs included in the budget, visit

Carolinas HealthCare appoints new CEO
Carolinas HealthCare System (Charlotte, NC) named Eugene Woods as its new CEO. Woods was formerly COO at CHRISTUS Health (Irving, TX). He replaces Michael Tarwater, who had been CEO since 2002 and plans to retire.

CMS proposes rule changes to some patient consent forms
CMS (Baltimore, MD) has proposed modifying a key Code of Federal Regulations privacy rule that covers patient records for drug and alcohol-abuse treatment, and by default, behavioral health. The proposed change to rule 42 CFR Part 2 would maintain the requirement that patient consent be obtained prior to disclosing or exchanging medical records that would identify, directly or indirectly, an individual who has been diagnosed or treated for a substance-abuse disorder. However, the rule also would allow “other health-related information shared by the Part 2 program to be disclosed,” without consent, “if permissible, under other applicable laws.” The changes would allow a broad general consent form to be signed.

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