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HHS awards over $87 million to encourage adoption of health IT

The Department of Health and Human Services is awarding over $87 million in funding to more than 1,300 health centers in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to support health IT enhancements. Ultimately, the purpose of this funding is to accelerate health centers’ transition from fee-for-service to value-based care .

Value-based care rewards healthcare providers with incentive payments for the quality of care they give patients with Medicare. Fee-for-service pays providers for the number of visits and tests they order.

Health centers that use the funding to purchase or upgrade EHR systems must use technology that has been certified by the ONC (Office of the National Health Coordinator for Health Information Technology).

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement that the investment will “help unlock health care data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health care system for the American people.”

The funding will also help improve efforts to share and use health information to support better healthcare decision, as well as increase engagement in delivery system transformation.

Funding for the health centers comes from the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center (CHC) fund, which was extended by MACRA  in 2015. The CHC fund provided $11 billion over a 5-year period for the operation, expansion and construction of health centers throughout the U.S. and its territories.

HHS had previously announced over $36 million in funding to 50 health center controlled networks (HCCNs) in 41 states and Puerto Rico. HCCNs promote enhanced health information sharing and support health centers in achieving the requirements for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs .

A complete list of grant recipients can be found on the Health Resources and Services Administration website.

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