RECs Won't Finish Mission Without More Funding

Scott Mace, March 18, 2014

For many small and rural providers, Regional Extension Centers have been a low-cost or no-cost lifeline through the process of acquiring EHR technology and participating in the Meaningful Use incentive payment program. What happens to the stragglers as the RECs wind down?

Consider the plight of the nation's Regional Extension Centers, which serve as serve as support and resource centers to assist providers in EHR implementation and Health IT needs around the country.

Until late last year, the RECs' funding was due to run out. Recently, unspent portions of that previously allocated funding was freed up through February 2015 through an ONC ruling known as a "no-cost extension."

For many small and rural providers, RECs have been a lifeline of low-cost or no-cost source of advice and support through the daunting process of acquiring EHR technology and participating in the meaningful use incentive payment program.

But as we enter the fifth and final year of the RECs' life, there is a palpable sense that the assistance the RECs have given to healthcare's "last wagon" is still about to be snuffed out, leaving those at the rear of the technology adoption trail to fall further and further behind the leading edge of the IT-fueled transformation of healthcare.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.


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