The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded nearly $19.85 million to 46 regional extension centers to provide technical assistance to critical access hospitals and rural hospitals hoping to qualify for incentive payments for meaningful use of electronic health records.

HHS in April completed awarding HITECH Act-funded grants to 60 RECs across the nation, primarily to assist physician practices in adopting EHRs. But the department at that time announced a new $25 million grant program to extend REC services to small hospitals.

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