HHS awards $125M to bolster the use of IT by health centers

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $125 million in quality improvement grants throughout the country.

The agency says the funds will be used to upgrade the health information technology at 1,352 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The funds, provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration, will help the centers to improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery in the communities they serve.

“Quality, value-based care is a priority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and HRSA-funded health centers serve as leaders in quality healthcare in the U.S.,” says HRSA Administrator George Sigounas. “Nearly all HRSA-funded health centers demonstrated improvement in one or more clinical quality measures from the year prior, and these funds will support health centers’ work to improve the quality of care they deliver every day in their communities around the country.”

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Also See: Community health centers get $90M for IT buys

Last year, nearly 97 percent of health centers in HRSA’s program had EHRs installed at all sites and used by all providers. About the same percentage reported sending prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically and used computerized clinical decision support such as alerts for drug allergies, checks for drug-drug interactions and reminders for preventive screening tests.

Overall, in 2017, more than 27 million Americans—about one in 12 U.S. residents—relied on an HRSA-supported health center for affordable, accessible primary healthcare, according to the agency.

“Community health centers provide coordinated, comprehensive, and patient-centered care to millions of Americans,” says HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “They have a track record of delivering quality care at significantly lower cost and are vital partners in our movement toward a health system that delivers quality, affordable, value-based healthcare for all Americans.”

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