HHS awards $87M for health center IT enhancements

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The Department of Health and Human Services awarded $87 million to health care centers across the country Thursday to enhance their IT systems.

“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to millions of people,” Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “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.”

The awards will help 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin update their systems to support the transition to value-based models of care, improve their efforts to share and use data to drive decisions, and increase engagement, an HHS release says.

Awardees are required to use the funds to purchase or upgrade to electronic health record systems that used Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT-certified technology.

This is the first major award granted by HHS for the improvement of health care center IT improvements since 2009, HHS says. The money comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center Fund created in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

“These awards will allow health centers to deliver higher quality of care to patients and spend health care dollars in a smarter way,” said Jim Macrae, acting administrator of HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

A breakdown of the awards can be found here.

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Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Departments, Health IT, Tech