HHS Awards Additional Funding to RECs

HHS Funds RECs

HHS awarded $12 million in supplemental funding to RECs on February 7th to further support Critical Access and Rural Hospitals. This is additional money from the nearly $20 million awarded back in September. These facilities are facing huge challenges adopting EHRs and becoming meaningful users. The funding will hopefully provide the needed assistnce to qualify for the EHR Incentive payments. See who received the funding. And see Dr. Blumenthal’s Buzz post on “Rural Health IT Is a Priority for HHS“.

Not to be left out, the Community College Consortia was awarded $32 million in second year funding to continue programs to educate HIT professional in health care programs.The money was awarded on January 27th and all five regional groups received a portion. Check out the Community Colleges in the consortium and see who received the funding.

If you haven’t checked out the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) lately you really should. ONC is doing a great job of keeping up with all of the product certifications.To attest to using Certified EHR Technology for the Incentive Program, you will need a CMS EHR Certification ID. The CHPL is set up with cart technology to obtain this information.

Now that you are all set on meaningful use in Stage 1, get ready for Stage 2. The HIT Policy committee’s MU workgroup is seeking comments for potential stage 2 meaningful use objectives. You can submit comments electronically through the Regulations.gov web page. Comment period is open until 5pm on February 25, 2011. The next MU workgroup meeting will be March 8th. All meetings are open to the public and can be joined by teleconference or online. For all committee and workgroup meetings, view their meeting calendar.
Need to get in touch with the ONC? Here is a page a stumbled on recently, the ONC E-Mail Directory. No real personal email addresses but ones that look like they would at least get you to the right departments.

The jobs board for the ONC still shows they are looking for Summer Students and HIT Policy Fellows. The jobs board however does not show the soon to be vacant National Coordinator position. Blumenthal announced his plans to return to Harvard and leave ONC this spring. It appears that to retain your tenure at Harvard, faculty are only allowed up to two years away. We look forward to the names in the running for his replacement, they are big shoes to fill, he has done a great job.