Cincinnati and Detroit are the final two pilot communities selected under the new Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday.
Greater Cincinnati HealthBridge, Cincinnati, and Southeastern Michigan Health Association, Detroit, join 15 other communities selected in May for the Beacon program. As provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the communities in aggregate are receiving $250 million—plus an additional $15 million for technical assistance and evaluation—to test the adoption of emerging health information technology in an effort to address local health issues.
"Under the Beacon program, communities first identify leading health problems that are unique to their community, develop innovative, health IT-related strategies, and work together through community collaborations to implement their strategies and track their performance," Sebelius said in a news release.
HealthBridge, which received $13.8 million over three years, will use its health information exchange program to develop new quality-improvement and care-coordination initiatives for patients with pediatric asthma and adult diabetes and will place an emphasis on smoking cessation.
The Southeastern Michigan Health Association and its partners in the greater Detroit area will use a $16.2 million grant over three years to employ health IT tools and strategies to prevent and better manage diabetes.
These Beacon Community awards are part of a larger, $2 billion effort to promote widespread meaningful use of health IT and provide each person in the U.S. with access to an electronic health record by 2014.