Thursday, August 20, 2009

State Funding for #HIE and Regional Extension Centers

Today there is a major announcement regarding the availability of grants worth $1.2 billion to help hospitals and health care providers implement and use electronic health records. The grants are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and will help health care providers qualify for new incentives that will be made available in 2011 to doctors and hospitals that meaningfully use electronic health records.

Vice President Joe Biden and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, joined by David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health information technology, will formally announce the application process for the $1.2 billion in grants to help expand the nation's electronic medical records system. The grants include $598 million to establish 70 Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers to help hospitals and clinicians, and $564 million to help states improve information sharing.

Biden, in a statement, said by expanding the use of electronic health records, "We are making health care safer; we're making it more efficient; we're making you healthier; and we're saving money along the way."

Electronic health records can improve the quality of care, reduce medical errors, and make doctors and hospitals more efficient. Thus the ARRA included new resources to help build a nationwide, interoperable health information network. This network will be built on a foundation of incentives to encourage doctors and hospitals to use electronic health records and protections for medical privacy. We know through example that health information technology is working in communities across the country. Earlier this year, Secretary Sebelius toured Omaha's Alegent Health Lakeside Hospital to see how one hospital is using health information technology. There is new video showing some of the highlights of her trip. You can watch the video here:

Received via email from Jeanne Lambrew - Director, HHS Office of Health Reform