The federal government will provide far more funding for regional extension centers during their first four years than originally envisioned.

Stimulus funds have helped launch 62 RECs across the nation to assist provider organizations in adopting and meaningfully using health information technologies. The RECs have received 90/10 cost sharing grants for two years, meaning the federal government will pay 90% of the costs. But RECs were expected to be self-sufficient after two years, as cost sharing would be reversed to 10/90, with a 10 percent federal share, in years three and four.

Now, the government will provide 90/10 funding for all four years, according to a notice to be published Jan. 25 in the Federal Register.  The existing cost sharing requirements are proving to be detrimental to the REC program because of national economic conditions, the notice from the Office of the National Coordinator states. "To alleviate these concerns, the Secretary will be seeking bi-lateral modifications to the grants to alter the initial timeline and cost-sharing requirements in the Regional Center grants."

The notice is available here.

--Joseph Goedert


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