Organizations applying for stimulus grant funding under the Beacon Communities program can get some free help from Surescripts, which operates a national electronic prescribing network.

Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Beacon Communities program will provide $220 million in grants to 15 communities to build and strengthen their health I.T. infrastructure and health information exchange capabilities. Another $15 million will be provided for technical assistance.

The goal of the program is to accelerate and demonstrate the benefits of health information technology. Applications for funding are due on Feb. 1, 2010. Awards are anticipated in March 2010 and programs will last for three years. For more information, visit grants.gov/search/basic.do, and enter 93.727 in the CFDA box.

Organizations applying for Beacon Communities grants may need to establish a baseline of electronic health records adoption within their geographic region. Upon request, Alexandria, Va.-based Surescripts will provide a report that shows how many prescribers in a specific region are using an EHR for e-prescribing.

To request an EHR E-Prescriber Adoption Report, send an e-mail to max.sow@surescripts.com. A requesting organization should provide information on the geography they are interested in, such as state, hospital service area, hospital referral region, county or group of counties. Surescripts will respond to inquiries within five business days and provide the service at no cost until Jan. 29.

--Joseph Goedert

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