HHS Announces $30 Million in HIT Funds to Cincinnati, Detroit

Janice Simmons, September 3, 2010

Healthcare programs in Cincinnati and Detroit have been awarded $30 million in grants for three years as the final two pilot locations for the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) new Beacon Community Program. The program is using health information technology to help tackle leading health problems in communities across the country.

The lessons learned from these pilot programs will be incorporated into nationwide strategies for electronic health record adoption, according to HHS. The program also will allow HHS to look for new ways to share lessons learned by funded communities and—working with local and national healthcare foundations—to develop support networks for other communities that want to employ similar approaches.

The latest awardees—Greater Cincinnati HealthBridge and Southeastern Michigan Health Association in Detroit—are joining 15 other projects selected in May for the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program. The other communities, which earlier received $220 million in Beacon program funding, include: Tulsa, OK; Stoneville, MS; Brewer, ME; Danville, PA; Salt Lake City, UT; Indianapolis; Spokane, WA; New Orleans, LA; Rochester, MI; Providence, RI; Grand Junction, CO; Concord, NC; San Diego, CA; Hilo, HI, and Buffalo, NY.

"Although we could only select two additional Beacon communities, we are incredibly impressed by the creativity and focus exhibited by communities over the course of this competition," said David Blumenthal, MD, the national coordinator for Health Information Technology.

"Local leadership is an essential ingredient to improving health care. The Beacon Community application process provides strong evidence that communities throughout the country are mobilizing for positive change, using health IT as a critical foundation for improving health care," he added.

The Greater Cincinnati HealthBridge, will received $13.8 million over three years. HealthBridge will be serving a 16?county area spanning three states surrounding greater Cincinnati. Under the Beacon program, HealthBridge and its partners will use its advanced health information exchange program to develop new quality improvement and care coordination initiatives focusing on patients with pediatric asthma, adult diabetes, and encouraging smoking cessation.


Janice Simmons Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.
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