Federally supported community health centers and other healthcare organizations will receive 27 federal stimulus grants totaling $27.8 million through HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration. The grants will be used to implement electronic health-record systems, develop health information exchange organizations, or HIE organizations, and help organizations better use existing EHRs to improve their quality of patient care, HHS announced.
The money for the grants is drawn from a $2 billion appropriation to HRSA under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which became law in February. The stimulus law tasks HRSA with funding programs to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program. Last year, HRSA-funded health centers treated 17 million patients, 40% of whom are uninsured, according to HHS.
Eighteen grants for a total of about $22.6 million will go toward EHR implementations, according to HHS. Another four grants totaling $2.6 million will fund “a variety of HIT innovations,” according to the HHS release, including starting up HIE organizations and implementing health IT at dental-care sites. Four grantees that have EHRs will share $2.5 million for health improvement programs, HHS said.