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HHS Announces $11.9 million to Implement HIT in Rural Areas

September 2, 2011

Rural health networks across the nation will receive more than $11.9 million to support their adoption of health information technology (HIT) and certified electronic health records (EHR).

The funding announced by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will also help these rural health networks’ participating eligible providers qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services.

“We need health information technology to bring our healthcare system into the 21st century,” Secretary Sebelius said. “These funds will help safety net providers acquire information technology to ensure the delivery of quality care to some of the most remote areas of our country.”

Each of 40 organizations will receive about $300,000 to purchase equipment, install broadband networks and provide training for staff. The pilot program was developed as a result of the President’s Rural Health Initiative, which identifies HIT as a priority area, and the Secretary’s Rural HIT Taskforce. Funding is distributed through HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and comes from existing appropriations and authorization for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach and Rural Health Network Development Program.

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