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HHS Offers $100M to Improve Children's Health IT

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $100 million in grants this week for health IT projects in 18 states for children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Different states and combinations of states will develop a variety of programs, including a pediatric electronic record format and health IT strategies in children's health data.

"We all have a stake in the health of our nation's children," said Sebelius in a statement. "Exploring new technologies and initiatives will help ensure our kids get the high quality care they need and deserve."

The goal for the grant program, according to HHS officials, is to demonstrate "that the quality of children's healthcare can be improved across states with new technologies and improvements in the way healthcare is delivered."

The CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009 provided funding for the five-year grants, which aim to establish a national quality system for children's healthcare.

"These grants will test the most current theories of how to improve the quality of care delivered to children," Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, said in a statement. "These awards will help create the foundation for a more responsive and effective national system of high quality healthcare for children."

States receiving the five-year grants include Colorado, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.

One partnership example is Maryland will coordinate with Georgia and Wyoming to focus specifically on improving treatment outcomes—the quality and cost of care—for children with serious behavioral health needs. The three states will incorporate features of a model developed by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which had been used with adults, to demonstrate its effectiveness with children and adolescents with serious mental health issues, according to HHS.

Oregon, meanwhile, will partner with Alaska and West Virginia to test the use of quality measures that have "widely varying healthcare delivery systems and use of healthcare technology," HHS said in a statement. The three states share rural and low-income populations.


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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