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HHS Awards $83.9 Million to Expand Use of Health IT

HHS is granting $83.9 million to help networks of health centers adopt EHRs and other health information technology systems, as part of the $2 billion allotted under ARRA to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals.

The Department of Health and Human Services is granting $83.9 million to help networks of health centers adopt electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technology (HIT) systems. The funds are part of the $2 billion allotted to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.

“We need health information technology to bring our health care system into the 21st century,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This essential technology improves the quality of care we all receive and helps make care more efficient.”

According to a press release, 45 grants will go toward supporting both new and enhanced EHR implementation projects and HIT innovation projects. The funds will allow grantees to use EHR technology to improve healthcare quality, efficiency, and patient safety. Eligible professionals practicing within health centers who are able to demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology may be eligible for incentive payments provided under Medicaid and Medicare.

Health Center Controlled Networks are designed to improve the operational effectiveness and clinical quality in health centers by providing management, financial, technology and clinical support services. The networks, comprised of at least three collaborating organizations, are community-based groups that support HRSA-funded health centers that provide primary health care to nearly 19 million patients, a number expected to double over the next five years as health reform is implemented.

For a complete list of HIT Implementation Grants by state, click here.