The Waiting Room – week of 1/3/10

Of course what we were all waiting for was delivered last Wednesday. Now we will be waiting for all the comments to the released rules in the next few weeks. We will report them as they are available so stay tuned.

A $60 million Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program funding opportunity announcement was released on December 18, 2009.  This program is available to support four research projects designed to find solutions for health IT adoption challenges. A second Technical Assistance call for potential SHARP program applicants will be on Monday, January 4, 2010 at 2:30pm EST.

The HIT Policy Committee’s NHIN Workgroup will hold a second hearing on January 7, 2010 at 9am. The workgroup will be discussing the nationwide health information network (NHIN), with a primary emphasis on authentication mechanisms used by the NHIN and the private sector. The workgroup will be hearing testimony from stakeholder groups. This is a public hearing and you can participate via phone or web.

In November, David Blumenthal announced HHS would make available $70 million to fund the training programs to be created by a consortia of community colleges. Blumenthal said the training programs were needed because of a workforce shortfall of 50,000 health IT technicians. Another $10 million will be available to develop a curriculum for the program. Community College Consortia grant applications are due on January 22, 2010 with optional but recommened letters of intend due on the 5th of January, awards anticipated in March 2010 for a two-year project period. Curriculum Development Centers applications are due on January 14th and they are also recommending a letter of intent by January 4th. Awards are also scheduled for March for a two-year project period.

In December ONC and HHS announced two additional grant programs to support the training and development of the skilled workforce required to support broad adoption and use of health IT. The Program of Assistance for University-Based Training Awards are for a 39-month project period.  Four-year colleges and universities are eligible to apply.  Applications are due by Jan. 25, 2010, with final awards expected in March 2010. There will be a Technical Assistance call January 5, 2010 at 3pm EST.

The Competency Examination Program award is for a two-year project period.  Applications are also due by Jan. 25, 2010, and the final award is expected in March 2010. There will be a Technical Assistance call January 6, 2010 at 1pm EST.

For more information on all of these grants visit the HHS workforce development page.

All is quite on the conference front for the next couple of weeks.

Happy New Year from all of us at HITECH Answers.