Some 1,655 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states, and the nationwide Indian Country will share $19.8 million in federal funds to help facilities convert from paper to electronic health record technology.
In making the announcement Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that by making this transition, these small and rural facilities can better qualify for "substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid."
“The benefits of health information technology can be especially important for patients and clinicians in small and rural health care facilities, yet these facilities face high hurdles as they look toward joining in the transition to electronic information,” Sebelius said.
The funding represents a new category of support aimed specifically "at assisting critical access and rural hospitals with their particular needs and challenges. This new funding is added to the substantial base we have already built to provide assistance to health care providers throughout the country as they transition to EHRs,” she added.
The grants range from $84,000 for the Virginia Health Quality Center to $1.488 million for the Regional Extension Assistance Center for Health Information Technology (REACH) in Minnesota and North Dakota and $1.14 million to the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Inc.
The new funding is provided under the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.