The traditional, film-based radiology system presents serious limitations for patient care. These include forcing clinicians to make decisions based on information that is often less than optimal and making transfers of films and prior studies to other facilities more complicated than they need to be. Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) address these issues by allowing for acquisition, storage, display, and communication (e.g., transportation) of images in a digital format. Although PACS has been shown to improve patient care, many rural health care organizations have found obtaining these systems cost-prohibitive. The Consolidating Imaging Initiative (CI-PACS) in Maine provides an alternative way to offer this technology to rural hospitals. Through CI-PACS, a tertiary care hospital and its health care system have implemented a shared, standards-based, interoperable PACS in two rural hospitals (one belonging to the larger health system and one not). In this article, we discuss how the regional system works, and how it will be sustained. We also highlight the unique challenges associated with implementing a regional system.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Consolidated Imaging: Implementing a Regional Health Information Exchange System for Radiology in Southern Maine
Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system
USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.
The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.
"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.
The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.
Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.
"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."
It doesn't have to be that way, though.
"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."
The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.
The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.
In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.
After the first year, the program is expected to grow.
"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.