ONC sets grant deadlines
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has set application deadlines for ONC’s string of recently announced grant programs intended to strengthen health IT for colleges and community hospitals.

A total of $80 million for programs primarily aimed at community colleges to develop health IT training programs ($70 million) and implement health IT curriculum ($10 million) is available. These programs are coming out of the estimated $167 billion that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will fund for various Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs over 10 years.

The deadline for the curriculum development centers is Jan. 14, 2010 and the deadline for community college consortia to educate health IT professionals is Jan. 22, 2010. Both awards are anticipated to be announced in mid-March of 2010.

ONC anticipates awarding up to five cooperative agreements to curriculum development centers. Each curriculum development center may receive up to $1.8 million. One curriculum development center will be selected to serve as the National Training and Dissemination Center and may receive up to an additional $900,000 to support related activities. Letters of intent for this center are due Jan 4, 2010, according to ONC.

National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal, MD,  estimates that 10,500 health IT professionals will be produced as a result of the $70 million being sent to community colleges to establish six-month health IT training programs.

Funding will be allocated to participants based on region:
  • Northwest: $6.2 million servicing five to eight community colleges;
  • Southwest: $10.7 million servicing 11-14 community colleges;
  • Midwest: $14.6 million servicing 13-18 community colleges;
  • South: $21 million servicing 16-22 community colleges; and
  • East/Northeast: $17.2 million servicing 17-23 community colleges.

Letters of intent for this program is due Jan 16, 2010, according to ONC.