Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced $162 million in awards created to help states advance the meaningful use of health IT through state health information exchange. The awards are part of a $2 billion effort, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to advance health IT and achieve the use of electronic health records for every citizen by 2014.
In the HHS press release, Secretary Sebelius stressed the importance of these investments to “unleash the power of health information technology to cut costs, eliminate paperwork, and help doctors deliver high-quality, coordinated care to patients.” Secretary Sebelius also emphasized the critical role that states play in securing the exchange of electronic health records between providers and hospitals. A fully developed health information exchange serves as a stepping stone to enable eligible healthcare providers to receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid for the meaningful use of health IT.
The $162 million in awards will be given to 16 states and state designated entities (SDEs) to assist non-proprietary health information exchange. After this most recent award, all states have now been awarded funds to begin to advance the meaningful use of health IT and facilitate state health information exchange.
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