New Michigan Health Information Network is Now Operational

Michigan residents seeking disability benefits may have it a little easier with the implementation of a new information network. The South East Michigan Health Information Exchange (SEMHIE) is now operational, and will help in expediting the transmission of health records between Michigan hospitals and the Social Security Administration.

SEMHIE is a collaboration of a number medical groups and corporations dedicated to providing a system that will enhance patient care and increase efficiency in the delivery of health care. One of its key goals was to implement a health information exchange in South East Michigan. SEMHIE is now part of the Nationwide Health Information Exchange, an effort through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help reduce the waiting time disability claimants must endure while their eligibility is determined.

Prior to the information exchange being implemented, information systems between state SSA offices were not compatible. This lead to many delays in exchanging medical information about potential beneficiaries and further slowing the backlog of Social Security disability cases. Healthcare organizations will now be able to transmit records to the SSA, which should help reduce the wait times for applications from a current average of 457 days to a more reasonable time frame.

SEMHIE will integrate the systems of two large hospital networks in Michigan, the Henry Ford Health System and the Oakwood Healthcare System, and help smaller healthcare networks as well. Administrators believe this will dramatically increase the number of disability claims processed, and will help in reviving the state's struggling economy.

With the prospect of easier claims processing, those seeking disability benefits should contact a Michigan Social Security disability lawyer for more information on how the new process will work.