ORHP Announces Rural HIT Grant Program

The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) has announced the release of the Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Grant Program (HRSA-11-137). HIT is critically important for rural communities and while a lot of the early innovation in the use of electronic records and HIT networks was done in rural communities, many challenges still remain. This pilot program was developed as a result of the President’s Rural Health Initiative which identifies HIT as a priority area and the Secretary’s Rural HIT Taskforce. To address these and other HIT issues, Secretary Sebelius established an HHS Rural HIT task force co-led by HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield and the Office of the National Coordinator.

The program will support rural providers who work in formal networks, alliances, coalitions or partnerships in their effort to effectively achieve "meaningful use" requirements. Funds provided through this program are not used for direct delivery of services. It is anticipated that this will be a one-time funding opportunity to assist networks in attaining meaningful use standards for electronic health records and other HIT activities that will support the achievement of meaningful use.

Upon completion of the grant program, a network should have completed a thorough strategic planning process, business planning process, and have a sounds strategy in place for sustaining its operations. Some anticipated outcomes of supporting the development of rural health networks include: achieving economies of scale and cost efficiencies; increasing the financial viability of the network, enhancing professional development; enhancing workforce recruitment and retention; sharing staff and expertise across network members; enhancing the continuum of care; ensuring continuous quality improvement of the care provided by network members.

Expected Number of Awards:           40
Estimated Total Program Funding:   $12 million
Closing Date for Applications:         May 27, 2011

The deadline to submit an application in grants.gov is May 27, 2011. ORHP strongly recommends that applicants submit their applications prior to the due date to avoid any technological problems. All applications have to be submitted electronically in www.grants.gov. There will be a technical assistance call for this funding announcement on May 10 at 2 pm. Please dial toll free 1-888 -577-8992, pass code HIT. The Technical Assistance call will be recorded and available for playback within one hour of the end of the call and will be available until June 10 at 11:59 pm. The phone number to hear the recorded call is: 1-866-420-5718.

•    Link for Funding Opportunity Synopsis

•    Link to apply for Funding Opportunity

For further questions on this funding opportunity, please contact the program coordinator, Marcia Green at 301-443-3261 or mgreen@hrsa.gov.

05-04-2011 09:55 (EDT)