Government invests in health IT

HHS offers $30M in stimulus funds for two more Beacon Communities

May 28, 2010
by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering an additional $30.3 million in stimulus awards to beef up community health IT infrastructure.

On Wednesday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a division of the HHS, announced it was putting up two new awards for its Beacon Community program. This initiative helps communities strengthen existing health technologies to find techniques that can promote wider adoption of electronic health records and reach other national health IT goals, the HHS said.

Non-profit organizations and government entities are eligible for the awards.

The ONC already distributed around $220 million in awards earlier this month to 15 organizations, including the Community Services Council of Tulsa, Okla., the Geisinger Clinic in Danville, Penn., and the University of Hawaii at Hilo. An additional $15 million will be available to some awardees for technical assistance.

The money comes courtesy of the HITECH Act, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus bill.

The program will "demonstrate a future where hospitals, clinicians, and patients use health IT in different ways to reform health care delivery within their communities and achieve meaningful and measurable improvements in health care quality, safety, and efficiency to benefit patients and taxpayers," said Beacon program director Aaron McKethan in an email Wednesday.

The deadline for letters of intent is June 9.

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