News Feature | August 8, 2016

HHS Offers $36 Million To Fund Health Center Controlled Networks For HIT Adoption

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

healthcare network

Project to benefit more than 1,020 participating health centers across the nation.

The Department of Health and Human Services is determined to boost healthcare information technology adoption and move towards its interoperability goals. To that end, HHS has announced it is awarding more than $36 million in funding to 50 Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs) located in 41 states and Puerto Rico for health information technology (HIT) adoption.

As Health IT Outcomes reported, achieving the goal of interoperability by 2024 rests on the flow of information. This award is designed to help those centers that face significant barriers to improving interoperability.

The ultimate goal in assisting HCCNs is to improve care access, quality, and cost efficiency, notably in medically underserved communities HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. More than 1,020 participating healthcare centers across the 50 states and Puerto Rico are expected to benefit from the funding, which supports the Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan.

“Health Center Controlled Networks are a key tool in providing quality primary care to medically underserved communities,” said Burwell. “By using these networks, individual health centers can work together to share resources, leverage buying power, and improve access to health information technology, leading to a better care experience for vulnerable populations.”

The HCCN networks support health centers to adopt and implement certified EHR technology; enhance comprehensive, integrated data collection, analysis, and reporting; meet the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program; and improve clinical and operational quality, reduce health disparities, and improve population health through HIT, particularly in underserved regions.

“These awards demonstrate our continued focus on advancing health center quality and accountability across all health centers by supporting the adoption of Health Information Technology,” said Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Acting Administrator Jim Macrae.

Nearly 1,400 health centers operate about 9,800 service delivery sites in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. These health centers employ more than 170,000 staff who provide care for nearly 23 million patients.

A complete list of the award recipients may be found here.