News | March 16, 2010

Feds Pump $162 Million Into States to Fund EMRs

David Blumenthal, M.D., is national coordinator for health information technology.

March 16, 2010 - As part of the second installment of funds under the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal government will allocate an additional $162 million to states to pay for technology to implement electronic medical records (EMR).

This will help meet the needs of 30 million more individuals receiving health insurance should the healthcare reform bill pass on March 18, said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The funds will be distributed among 16 states and qualified state designated entities (SDEs). In February, the government distributed $385 million to 40 states and SDEs. The funding is part of a $2 billion effort to provide every citizen the use of an electronic medical record by 2014.

According to David Blumenthal, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology, said, "The purpose of these [funds] is to give the states the resources they need to bring to the table all the relevant groups within their jurisdictions, physicians, health insurers, employers, hospitals, all the relevant stakeholders in the state to come to an agreement on a strategic and operational plan for creating a health information exchange across their jurisdiction."

HHS will be providing states with guidance and technical assistance.

The following states and SDEs are to receive funds toward the establishment of the health information exchange:

* Agency of Health Care Administration (FL)
* The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
* New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority
* South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services
* Iowa Department of Public Health
* Idaho Health Data Exchange
* State of North Dakota, Information Technology Department
* State of Alaska
* Nebraska Department of Administrative Services
* South Dakota Department of Health
* Department of Public Health, State of CT
* State of Mississippi
* Indiana Health Information Technology, Inc.
* HealthShare Montana
* Texas Health and Human Services Commission
* Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum

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