The grant will support health IT in 1,183 federally funded health centers across all 50 states.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded nearly $42 million in funding to enhance health IT at 49 Health Center Control Networks (HCCNs) in the US.
These grants will allow HCCNs to support 1,183 federally funded health centers across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
HCCNs are groups of health centers that collaborate to improve operational and clinical practices by making health IT easier for patients and providers to use. This will increase the security of patient information and allow more healthcare organizations to use data to improve patient care. HCCNs also offer training and technical assistance in data analytics and group purchasing power.
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“Health centers play a crucial role in providing their communities with access to high quality, affordable healthcare,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Investing in more advanced health IT will help put patients at the center and unleash the power of data, helping us get better value from the care delivered by health centers and delivering on President Trump’s vision for healthcare.”
This grant will add to HHS’s past investments in health IT expansion. In 2016, the organization awarded $87 million to more than 1300 health centers across the nation. The funds supported the adoption of health IT tools, including health information exchange capabilities and big data analytics solutions.
“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to millions of people,” former HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said at the time. “This investment will help unlock health care data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health care system for the American people.”
Earlier this month, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that between fiscal years 2011 and 2017, HHS and HRSA awarded $243 million to health centers in order to upgrade their health IT tools and infrastructure.
GAO also found that health centers’ revenue increased from $12.7 billion in calendar year 2011 to $26.3 billion in calendar year 2017. The number of health centers has also increased, jumping from 1,124 centers in 2010 to 1,373 centers in 2017, and the number of patients served increased from 19.5 million to 27.2 million.
HHS noted that health centers’ participation in this program is also growing. Between 2016 and 2019, participation in the program went from 70 percent of HRSA-funded centers to 86 percent of centers.
With the new grants, HHS expects to continue to enhance health IT use at health centers across the country.
“Improvements in information technology will enhance the patient and provider experience as health centers continue to deliver high quality primary care in underserved communities across the nation,” said HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas. “President Trump is determined to support and improve the ability of health centers to work together and deliver value-based care.”
Date: July 29, 2019
Source: Health IT Analytics