The Health Resources and Services Administration in the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded nearly $600 million in stimulus grants for the construction or improvement of community health centers and adoption of information technologies.

Some $88 million will help networks of health centers adopt EHRs and other I.T. services. More than 50 Health Center Controlled Networks operate across the nation. These networks support the I.T. needs of collaborating community health centers.

The bulk of the new grants, $508.5 million, will support construction and major renovation projects at 85 community health centers.

President Obama announced the grants on Dec. 9. He also touted a medical home demonstration program to support delivery of advanced primary care to Medicare beneficiaries through community health centers.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $2 billion to community health centers, which treat uninsured and underinsured populations. To date, $1.9 billion has been spent, of which about $299 million has gone for I.T. projects, according to a HRSA spokesperson. Among the projects was funding last summer for upgrading or adoption of EHRs by 400 centers.

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--Joseph Goedert

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