On December 9th, President Obama announced that nearly $600 million funded through ARRA, will go to Community Health Centers to help with renovation projects, assist with HIT, and provide for a medical home demonstration. Of that amount, HRSA will fund $88 million under ARRA to help current Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCN) grantees improve their information technology capacity. HRSA has specified that the funding will go for new activities with HCCNs eligible to apply for this funding as long as they clearly delineate the new activities from existing ones.
In this solicitation, HRSA is limiting funding to only HCCNs because they are capable of providing HIT infrastructure and able to implement EHR and other HIT systems. Today, 400 health centers are current members and obtain services from HCCNs. As of July 2009, HRSA currently supports 38 HCCNs for various HIT activities.
There are several categories under consideration for this grant funding. Category 1 provides $78 million to fund up to 26 HCCNs for EHR implementation at a maximum of $3 million for each project. Applicants to be eligible must be in the final planning stages of adopting a certified EHR and have selected a single vendor and platform. This category is also for applicants that are expanding their EHR capabilities
Category 2 provides $10 million to fund up to 10 HCCNs to implement HIT innovative projects other than EHR at a maximum of $1 million for each project. This category enables the use of telehealth to build or enhance existing HIT systems. The end result is to create interoperable information systems to use for more telehealth services.
For example, school-based programs might consider projects that partner with schools and other providers in the community to expand access to services, such as mental health or dental health services through telehealth technologies.
HRSA expects the HCCNs to focus on creating sustainable business models for deploying and maintaining HIT, as well as the health centers will need to be engaged in strategic partnerships to to leverage other HIT initiatives and resources.
Thirty six awards are expected to be funded. The current closing date for applications is February 5, 2010 and a Pre-Application Conference will be held on December 18, 2009. For more information on the HRSA-10-154 grant announcement, go to www.grants.gov. For additional questions, call Christie Brown (315) 662-7933 or email Christie.firstname.lastname@example.org.