HHS distributes $20M to rural hospitals for health IT

The funding is intended to help rural hospitals install electronic health record systems

The Health and Human Services Department is awarding another set of grants for health information technology, this time $20 million in new technical support to help rural hospitals convert to electronic health records.

The new funding from the economic stimulus law of 2009 will go to regional extension centers for the benefit of 1,655 critical-access and rural hospitals in 41 states, tribes and the District of Columbia, HHS announced in a news release.

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HHS officials said  the grants were a new category of support "aimed specifically at assisting critical access and rural hospitals with their particular needs and challenges.”

Under the economic stimulus law, HHS is distributing $20 billion for electronic health record systems, including $17 billion to hospitals and physicians that purchase new systems, and $2 billion through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT for technical assistance, training and demonstration projects.

The new rural hospital grants are part of the technical assistance pool of funds.

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Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 Linda Joy Adams Oklahoma

Currently once the patients medical records are submitted along with a claim for payment from any govt financed health program such as Medicare there is no protection or privacy assurances as the contractors ( business associates) are not covered under the HIPPAA law. And as my personal situation has been documented gross alterations and violations have occurred. Regulations are being written to be soon published in the federal Registrar that will bring all the govt connected entities under the HIPPAA law. Watch for them and I encourage everyone to respond if they feel called to do so. Currently the altered and down right fraudulent national health Insurance data base has caused wrongful death malpractice suits and other horrific problems as doctors relied on it for a medical history. It is affects medical necessity decisions,etc. I've had to close calls in recent years because of it. I applaud our new Director of Medicare for finally recognizing a decade problem which started out as a ruse to keep costs down ( for the insurance liability industry) in injury litigation cases but : more recently been used to allow Federal agencies such as federal workers compensation to get Medicare to pay bills for accepted injury expenses which my us attorneys calls 'organized crime.' Whether one 'likes' the 'politics' of those in power, laws need to either be upheld or changed by Congress. Linda Joy Adams

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