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South East Michigan Health Information Exchange (SEMHIE) Achieves Key Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange Milestone Under Contract for Electronic Medical Records for U.S. Social Security Administration

(October 19, 2011)

ANN ARBOR, MI -- (Marketwire) -- 10/19/11 -- The South East Michigan Health Information Exchange (SEMHIE) announced today that it has been validated for conformance and interoperability testing by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and is now live on the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange (NwHIN). SEMHIE joins a 20-member group of federal agencies and non-federal partners authorized to operate on NwHIN(1).

SEMHIE developed its health information exchange under a $2,988,000 contract with the U.S. Government's Social Security Administration (SSA). This is the largest of the 12 remaining national SSA e-Disability Claims contracts and is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

This contract provides for the secure, authorized exchange of summary patient information for disability determination between SEMHIE health systems' and providers' electronic medical record (EMR) systems and the SSA. Once received, decisions on these claims can then be made by SSA, providing disabled citizens with an accelerated approval process that will improve access to healthcare services, accelerate the claims approval process and bring increased federal dollars to the Detroit area.

When complete, SSA expects to reduce the national average wait for eligibility determination from 457 days to 1-2 weeks and the delivery of medical information from providers to the SSA to 5 hours.

Funds from this contract award are enabling two major hospital systems that are collaborative partner members of SEMHIE, Henry Ford Health System and Oakwood Healthcare System, to securely exchange authorized summary patient records for disability determination with the SSA in standard CCD (Continuity of Care Document) format, linking their systems to the NwHIN, and meeting meaningful use criteria. At the conclusion of this SSA contract, it is anticipated that other major hospital systems and providers in the Detroit Metro area and across Michigan will use the SEMHIE's infrastructure and services for disability claims processing. SEMHIE plans to leverage this technology and experience to create additional services for its members as it rolls out a comprehensive, full-functioning HIE in Southeast Michigan.

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced in June 2010 that 15 healthcare providers and health information exchange networks received $17.4 million in contract awards to provide electronic medical records to the agency under the program.

"Using health information technology will improve our disability programs and provide better service to the public," Commissioner Astrue said. "We've seen a significant increase in disability applications. To process them, the agency sends more than 15 million requests annually for medical records to healthcare providers. This largely paper-bound workload is generally the most time-consuming part of the disability decision process. The use of health IT will dramatically improve the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of this process, reducing the cost of making a disability decision for both the medical community and the American taxpayer."

Under future milestones, SEMHIE will complete the work now in advanced stages to integrate the SEMHIE NwHIN gateway service to the web-services systems at Oakwood Healthcare System and Henry Ford Health System for exchange with the SSA. This contract is scheduled to be complete by the end of December 2011.

SEMHIE's strategic partners in the SSA project are CNSI, CSC, Object Management Group (OMG), University Bank of Ann Arbor, Oakwood Health System and Henry Ford Health System. CSC and CNSI are members of two of the four consortia that built the NwHIN for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reliance Software Systems, Inc. (RelWare®), Clinical Architecture and Joint Venture Hospital Labs (JVHL) are also providing leading-edge technical products and services to the project for CCD creation and semantic interoperability.

The SEMHIE solution incorporates a state of the art Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) / Cloud HIE infrastructure and advanced mapping technology based on the Model Driven Message Interoperability™ (MDMI™) Standard of the Object Management Group (OMG) linked to the NwHIN though a CONNECT gateway.

Architects and technicians at CSC and CNSI worked with SEMHIE's experts, including Program Manager Michael M. Talley, to architect the solution proposed to SSA.

Michael M. Talley, SEMHIE's Treasurer, SSA Program Manager, and a member of the Board of Directors stated, "I am pleased to receive confirmation from the federal government that our system works and can do the job required."

Helen L. Hill, FHIMSS, SEMHIE's Program Manager for Public Private Initiatives, MiHIN Board member, and Henry Ford Health System Director of IT Consulting and HIE, stated, "SEMHIE is pleased to partner with the Social Security Administration on this innovative project that will provide great benefit to the economically and medically distressed residents of Southeast Michigan by dramatically reducing the average wait time for a decision on eligibility for disability. This project is advancing health information exchange significantly in this region, providing standards-based interoperability between major integrated healthcare delivery systems and an agency of the federal government using NwHIN CONNECT."

"Henry Ford Health System, a founding member of SEMHIE, is very proud to be a project participant," Hill continued. "Success in this national initiative is a significant step for SEMHIE as we move toward full implementation of our neutral, trusted health information exchange."

Paula Fusco Smith, SVP & CIO of Oakwood Healthcare System and the Vice Chairman of the board of SEMHIE stated, "This is a great step for Southeast Michigan and the SEMHIE organization. Oakwood is excited about being one of the leading health systems to initiate the health information exchange between the healthcare providers and Social Security Administration."

Additional quotes from SEMHIE SSA Project participants CNSI, OMG and University Bank are available at

Additional background information for each entity named is available at

(1)For more information on the NwHIN including a list of the current members of the NwHIN, see

About South East Michigan Health Information Exchange (SEMHIE)
Southeast Michigan Health Information Exchange is a diverse non-profit multi-stakeholder consortium whose membership includes six major health systems (Beaumont Hospitals, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, Oakwood Healthcare System, St. John Health System, and Trinity Health), providers, payers, employers, quality organizations, safety-net providers and healthcare professional associations. SEMHIE leverages proven and innovative technologies across health care settings to improve information process flow, continuity of care, and to accelerate improvement in the quality and safety of care. By decreasing costs while improving the quality of care, SEMHIE goal is to become a self-sustaining health information exchange serving Southeast Michigan.

SEMHIE is a Qualified Sub-State Health Information Exchange in the State of Michigan. For more information visit, or contact Dr. Robert Jackson at or 313-386-5500.

South East Michigan Health Information Exchange
Robert Jackson
Phone: 313-386-5500
Email: Email Contact

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