CPCA builds partnership with Epic Systems Corporation

In 2017, CPCA began discussions with Epic Systems Corporation, a leader in delivering Health IT software to provider organizations around the world.  The purpose of the discussions was to develop an Epic hosted cloud-based, California FQHC-specific instance of the Epic electronic health record (EHR) tool that would be customized to meet the needs of California health centers.  After months of research and member guidance, the CPCA Board of Directors voted in October 2017 to approve business negotiations between CPCA and Epic. The expected benefits from the partnership are to build and strengthen our integrated delivery networks, bridge gaps across siloed delivery systems, maximize competitiveness in an increasingly evolving market, reduce total cost of ownership for EHR related offerings, and creation of a California-specific EHR and Population Health Management system which would be made available to all CPCA member health centers.

A considerable number of CPCA member health centers have expressed interest in partnering with CPCA on this initiative, including some of the largest health centers in the state. As in any business, there are risks, but CPCA has identified strategies to address each of these and feels strongly that it is creating a truly unique partnership with the Epic Systems Corporation with sufficient mutual incentives to make this model successful. With Epic delivering on the most technically challenging aspects of the business, CPCA feels confident in its ability to execute in collaboration with, and on behalf of, its members.

CPCA’s vision for this program accounts for the fact that in order to remain competitive, health centers must increase their leverage in how they acquire, use, maintain, and innovate in their use of Health IT. A primary goal of this initiative is to create a California-specific, hosted version of Epic that provides California health centers an additional option to access the Epic platform. A California-specific version of Epic would have all necessary customizations to deal with MediCal policy, California-specific health center billing rules, clinical tools and workflows to support payment reform in California, and reporting tools to meet California state-level regulatory reporting requirements.

Additionally, working together ensures that the money spent on EHR and Population Health tools is reinvested in California. This initiative will also provide California health centers with considerable leverage in negotiating terms and conditions around health information exchange. This platform will become the hub for exchange regarding CHC patients, instead of having a third party vendor or other partner serve in that capacity. This will help protect health centers’ autonomy and data ownership from entities that may see value in growing their footprint in the Medi-Cal business.

We are pleased with the progress that has been made to date. We have been able to significantly lower the price of the Epic product and have options to gain favorable financing for the project through the innovative use of the New Markets Tax Credit. We are in the final stages of negotiating this partnership, and the CPCA Board is waiting on a final contract from Epic and additional financial information before a final vote on approval is taken.

In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to those health centers who have already signed MOUs to discuss the specific details and requirements for the agreements that will be submitted to the Board for final approval.

If you are interested in partnering with CPCA on this initiative or would like more information, please contact David L. Anderson, Vice President of Health Information Technology.