CMS uses $50M from DRA funds to award 20 Medicaid IT grants
CMS uses DRA funds to vamp up health IT in 20 states. Source: ABC News  
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $50 million in IT grants to 20 states to improve access to primary medical care for Medicaid beneficiaries.

“These grants provide new programs and services to help people get the non-emergency care they need in the most appropriate setting,” CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems said. “We are committed to working closely with the states to implement effective reforms to slow spending growth while maintaining access to coverage.”

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 provided $50 million to be distributed over four years (2006-2009) for primary healthcare programs, primarily in rural and/or other underserved areas as well as programs that work closely with community hospitals, according to CMS.

The most recent award to the 20 states of $26 million will fund 29 state programs.  The remaining $24 million will be available to those grantees in 2009.

Grantees will use the funds to:
  • establish new community health centers;
  • extend the hours of operation at existing clinics;
  • educate beneficiaries about new services; and
  • provide for electronic health information exchange between facilities for better coordination of care.
States receiving grant funds under the program are Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.