Two rural SC hospitals receive federal grants to help fund HIT

The Regional Medical Center In Orangeburg and Fairfield Memorial Hospital are among 40 rural health networks across the nation that will share more than $11.9 million to support their adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) and certified Electronic Health Records (EHR). The funding, announced  by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, will also help these rural health networks’ participating eligible providers qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services.

“We need health information technology to bring our health care system into the 21st century,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “These funds will help safety net providers acquire state-of-the-art health information technology systems to ensure the delivery of quality care to some of the most remote areas of our country.”

Each of 40 grantee organizations will receive about $300,000 to purchase equipment, install broadband networks and provide training for staff.  The 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.  Funding is distributed through HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and comes from existing appropriations and authorization for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach and Rural Health Network Development Program.

“Collaboration is key to this effort. Working together, these rural health networks will be in a better position to achieve economies of scale and enhance their services and organizational capacity,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

09-07-2011 03:45 (EDT)