HHS grants $11.9M for rural health IT implementation

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Certain U.S. rural health networks will receive more than $11.9 million to support their adoption of health IT (HIT) and certified EHR technology. The funding, announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, also will help these rural health networks’ participating eligible providers qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Each of 40 grantee organizations will receive about $300,000 to purchase equipment, install broadband networks and provide training for staff.  The pilot program was developed as a result of the President Barack Obama’s Rural Health Initiative, which identifies HIT as a priority area, and the Secretary’s Rural HIT Taskforce .

Funding is distributed through HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and comes from existing appropriations and authorization for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach and Rural Health Network Development Program.

“Collaboration is key to this effort. Working together, these rural health networks will be in a better position to achieve economies of scale and enhance their services and organizational capacity,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN.