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HHS awards $83.9 million to aid in EHR adoption

Article

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $83.9 million in grants to help networks of health centers adopt electronic health records and other health information technology systems.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $83.9 million in grants 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 (ARRA) of 2009 to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.

"These funds will help safety-net providers acquire state-of-the-art HIT systems as they work to provide quality healthcare to millions of people in need," says Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, HRSA administrator.

The recently awarded ARRA Ð Health Information Technology Implementation grants range from $327,169 to the Health Federation of Philadelphia to $3 million each to the Clinicas del Camino Real, Ventura, CA; Community Health Center Network, San Leandro, CA; Community Health Centers Alliance, St. Petersburg, FL; Family Health Centers of San Diego; Illinois Primary Care Association, Springfield; OCHIN, Portland, OR; and Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers, Hammonton, NJ.

The 45 awards are designed to support new and enhanced EHR implementation projects as well as HIT innovation projects in an effort 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.

 "We need HIT to bring our healthcare system into the 21st century," says HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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