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ONC to Provide Additional Funding to Accelerate Critical Access and Rural Hospitals’ Switch to Electronic Health Records

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr. David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced an additional $12 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals adopt and become meaningful users of certified health information technology. Today's funding announcement will come through ONC's Regional Extension Center (REC) program to provide a wide range of support services to the 1,777 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, to help them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid. This funding is in addition to the $20 million provided to RECs in September 2010 to provide technical assistance to the CAHs and Rural Hospitals.
"This additional funding recognizes the need to address these challenges and represents another important milestone in our commitment to critical access and rural hospitals throughout the country as they transition to EHRs."
"Critical access and rural hospitals are a vital part of our healthcare system. Health information technology can offer rural health care providers and their patients resources and expertise that may not be currently available in their communities. We recognize that the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) is a challenge and that rural facilities face even greater challenges to make the transition from paper to electronic records," Dr. Blumenthal said. "This additional funding recognizes the need to address these challenges and represents another important milestone in our commitment to critical access and rural hospitals throughout the country as they transition to EHRs."

The new funding is provided under the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The HITECH Act created the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs, which will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs that adopt and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Incentives totaling as much as $27.4 billion over 10 years could be expended under the program, which is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In addition, the HITECH Act provided $2 billion through ONC to support technical assistance, training, and demonstration projects to assist in the nation's transition to EHRs.

The additional CAHs and rural hospital funding will be administered through ONC's Regional Extension Center (REC) program. The RECs are specifically designed to offer a wide range of hands-on technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate health care providers' efforts to become meaningful users of certified EHRs under the Medicare and Medicaid incentives programs. A total of 62 RECs are located throughout the country. This additional funding is being awarded 48 RECs serving CAH and rural hospitals provides in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country.

Serving CAHs and rural hospitals is a priority for the REC program. The intent of this supplement is to provide additional technical support to critical access and rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds in selecting and implementing EHR systems primarily within the outpatient setting. The national distribution of RECs make them a particularly effective program to provide community-based hands-on, field support needed to overcome unique barriers that CAHs and rural hospitals may confront as they work to adopt and meaningfully use health IT.

Today's $12 million round of awards will result in a total of approximately $32 million of funding provided to the RECs to support CAH health IT adoption. The awards announced today are:

Regional Extension Center (REC) REC State Coverage Award Amount Alabama Regional Extension Alabama $216,000 Center Alaska eHealth Network Alaska $84,000 Arizona Health e-Connection

Arizona

$120,000 (AzHeC) Arkansas Foundation for



Arkansas

$210,000 Medical Care, Inc. dba HIT





Arkansas California Regional

California

$168,000 Extension Center (North) -





CalHIPSO (North) California Regional

California

$90,000 Extension Center (South) -





CalHIPSO (South) Colorado Regional Health

Colorado

$228,000 Information Organization





(CORHIO) dba Colorado





Regional Extension Center National Indian Health Board

Serving the

$156,000 (NIHB)

nationwide





Indian Country,





headquartered in





the District of


Columbia Community Health Centers

Florida

$84,000 Alliance, Inc. dba Center for





the Advancement of Health





IT (Rural and North Florida





Regional Extension Center) Health Choice Network of

Florida

$18,000 Florida, Inc. dba South





Florida Regional Extension





Center Collaborative Morehouse School of

Georgia

$1,008,000 Medicine dba Georgia





HITREC Health Information Exchange

Hawaii, and the

$72,000 dba Hawaii-Pacific REC

Pacific





territories of





Guam, American


Samoa, and CNMI IFMC dba Health

Iowa

$522,000 Information Technology





Regional Extension Center





(Iowa HITREC) Northern Illinois University

Illinois

$360,000 dba Illinois Health





Information Technology





Regional Extension Center





(IL-HITREC) Purdue University Indiana $192,000 Kansas Foundation for

Kansas

$570,000 Medical Care, Inc. (KFMC) University of Kentucky

Kentucky

$180,000 Research Foundation Louisiana Health Care

Louisiana

$384,000 Quality Forum Massachusetts Technology

Massachusetts

$66,000 Park Corporation HealthInfoNet Maine $132,000 Altarum Institute dba

Michigan

$216,000 Michigan Center for





Effective IT Adoption





(M-CEITA) Stratis Health dba Regional

Minnesota

$744,000 Extension Assistance Center

North Dakota


for Health Information





Technology (REACH) -MN and ND The Curators of the

Missouri

$330,000 University of Missouri dba





Missouri HIT Assistance





Center eQHealth Solutions, Inc. dba

Mississippi

$270,000 Mississippi Regional





Extension Center Mountain-Pacific Quality

Montana

$408,000 Health Foundation (MPQHF) Wyoming CIMRO of Nebraska dba

Nebraska

$1,068,000 Wide River Technology





Extension Center Massachusetts eHealth

New Hampshire

$234,000 Collaborative, Inc. dba





New Hampshire REC Lovelace Clinic Foundation-

New Mexico

$102,000 LCF Research New York eHealth

New York

$60,000 Collaborative (NYeC) Greater Cincinnati Health

Ohio

$144,000 Bridge dba HealthBridge

Kentucky


Tri-State REC Indiana Ohio Health Information

Ohio

$258,000 Partnership (OHIP) Oklahoma Foundation for

Oklahoma

$372,000 Medical Quality, Inc.





(OFMQ) OCHIN, Inc. dba O-HITEC Oregon $192,000 Quality Insights of

Pennsylvania

$90,000 Pennsylvania, Inc. (Eastern) Quality Insights of

Pennsylvania

$72,000 Pennsylvania, Inc. (Western) South Carolina Research

South Carolina

$78,000 Foundation dba Center for





Information Technology





Implementation Assistance in





South Carolina (CITIA-SC) Dakota State University dba

South Dakota

$288,000 healthPOINT Qsource Tennessee $240,000 Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital

Texas

$54,000 Council Education and





Research Foundation dba





North Texas REC Texas Tech University

Texas

$456,000 Health Sciences Center dba





West Texas Health





Information Technology





Regional Extension Center





(WT-HITREC) The TAMUS Health Science

Texas

$192,000 Center Research Foundation





dba CentrEast Regional





Extension Center University of Texas Health

Texas

$306,000 Science Center at Houston HealthInsight

Utah

$234,000 Nevada Vermont Information

Vermont

$54,000 Technology Leaders, Inc. VHQC (Virginia Health

Virginia

$42,000 Quality Center) Qualis Health dba

Washington

$282,000 Washington & Idaho

Idaho


Regional Extension





Center (WIREC) MetaStar, Inc. dba Wisconsin

Wisconsin

$414,000 Health Information





Technology Extension Center West Virginia Health

WV

$102,000 Improvement Institute, Inc.


TOTAL ALL

$12,162,000 AWARDS





A complete listing of REC grant recipients and additional information about the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers may be found at http://www.HealthIT.hhs.gov/programs/REC/.

For information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, see http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms

For information about the Recovery Act at HHS, see http://www.hhs.gov/recovery.

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