ONC Announces HIT Grant Program

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) announced yesterday the creation of the Beacon Community Program, which will provide $235 million in grants for HIT incentive payments to eligible providers.  The ONC will begin accepting letters of intent to apply for the program, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), immediately, with the deadline for this set at January 8, 2010.  Actual grant applications are due on February 1, 2010.  Awards will be announced in March, with the program’s official start set for April of 2010.

Awards will be made in the form of cooperative agreements to approximately 15 qualified non-profit organizations or government entities representing geographic health care communities, and eligible entities must be a US-based non-profit organization or a government entity falling into one of the following five categories:

  1. State, local, tribal, or territorial government entity with a public health focus
  2. Integrated delivery network or health system with broad community partnerships
  3. Independent physician association or consortium of medical groups
  4. Public/private partnership aimed at health system improvement and/or community health improvement
  5. ONC-funded regional extension center with the capacity to expand its services
For purposes of this cooperative agreement, stakeholders include, but are not limited to, primary care providers (PCPs), practicing clinicians, hospitals, public and private payers, consumers, local and state public health departments, safety net providers, employers, academic institutions, charitable foundations, industry, laboratories, pharmacies, employers, quality improvement organizations, hospital associations, government entities, and medical societies.  Proof of non-profit status is required for all non-profit applicants.

All sentiments aside regarding the negative structure in which the ARRA HIT incentives affect rural providers, this grant announcement is a step in the right direction to adopting systematic HIT and EHR, and represents only the first of the ARRA payments for individual providers.

For the full grant opportunity announcement and instructions, please click here

For more information on other ONC grant opportunities and general updates, please visit its website below:

http://healthit.hhs.gov

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