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HHS Offers $38M in New HIT Workforce Development Grants

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 24, 2009

HHS announced it is targeting $38 million for additional grants to support the training and development of a skilled health IT workforce.

Authorized under the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the two new grants will award $32 million to establish university-based certificate and advanced degree health IT training programs, and $6 million to develop a health IT competency exam.

These latest awards, together with the recently announced $80 million in workforce program grants for the Community College Consortia and Curriculum Development Centers, recognize the need to develop a health IT workforce to support the meaningful use of health IT, said David Blumenthal, MD, HHS' national coordinator for health IT.

"To realize the widespread adoption of EHRs and achieve the vision of a transformed health system that health IT can facilitate, the workforce needs to be expanded and properly trained to facilitate rapid uptake of health IT by healthcare providers," Blumenthal said in a media release. "The workforce development program is expected to generate highly skilled professionals in key roles to meet 85% of the estimated need for expansion of the health IT workforce, who will in turn support healthcare providers and hospitals implement and maintain electronic health records and use them to strengthen the delivery of care."

The two new grant programs are titled: Information Technology Professionals in Health Care: Program of Assistance for University-Based Training Programs and Competency Examination for Individuals.

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