U.S. announces $1.2 billion for EHRs
WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Vice President Joe Biden (pictured) announced the availability of grants
worth nearly US$1.2 billion to help hospitals and healthcare providers
implement and use electronic health records. The grants will be funded
by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and will
help healthcare providers qualify for new incentives that will be made
available in 2010 to doctors and hospitals that meaningfully use
electronic health records.
“With electronic health records, we are making healthcare safer; we’re
making it more efficient; we’re making you healthier; and we’re saving
money along the way,” said Vice President Biden. “These are four
necessities we need for healthcare in the 21st-century.”
“Expanding the use of electronic health records is fundamental to
reforming our healthcare system,” said HHS Secretary Sebelius.
“Electronic health records can help reduce medical errors, make
healthcare more efficient and improve the quality of medical care for
all Americans. These grants will help ensure more doctors and hospitals
have the tools they need to use this critical technology.”
The grants made available include:
• Grants totaling US$598 million to establish approximately 70 Health
Information Technology Regional Extension Centers, which will provide
hospitals and clinicians with hands-on technical assistance in the
selection, acquisition, implementation, and meaningful use of certified
electronic health record systems.
• Grants totaling $564 million to States and Qualified State Designated
Entities (SDEs) to support the development of mechanisms for information
sharing within an emerging nationwide system of networks.
The Extension Center grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, with the
first awards being issued in fiscal year 2010. Grants to States will be
made in fiscal year 2010. Those interested in applying for these grants
may visit HealthIT.gov for more information.
“With these programs, we begin the process of creating a national,
private and secure electronic health information system. The grants are
designed to help doctors and hospitals acquire electronic health records
and use them in meaningful ways to improve the health of patients and
reduce waste and inefficiency,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, National
Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
“They will also help states lead the way in creating the infrastructure
for health information exchange,” said Blumenthal, “which enables
information to follow patients within and across communities, wherever
the information is needed to help doctors and patients make the best
decisions about medical care.”
The Department of Health and Human Services will also provide additional
assistance to healthcare providers through the Health Information
Technology Research Center (HITRC). The HITRC will gather relevant
information on effective practices from a wide variety of sources across
the country and help the Regional Extension Centers collaborate with one
another and with relevant stakeholders to identify and share best
practices in EHR adoption, effective use, and provider support.
The activities described in this release are being funded through the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). To track the progress of
HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit
www.hhs.gov/recovery. To track
all U.S. federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit