Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grant Funding in Minnesota

The “Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for HIE” has funding of one million currently available to help rural or underserved communities. These communities are potentially eligible for federal incentives for the meaningful use of EHRs in order to exchange health information. The funding can also be used to increase the number of rural Minnesota pharmacies capable of accepting electronic prescriptions. Grant awards are available up to $10,000 with the applications due December 31, 2011.

Eligible applicants include:

• Qualifying Hospitals—Critical Access Hospitals and small rural hospitals with less than 100 beds, rural health clinics, FQHCs, and rural physician clinics can apply for funding to pay consultant costs associated with planning for HIE capabilities and for costs associated with establishing connectivity with the State Certified Health Information Exchange Service provider

• Qualifying Rural Pharmacies—serving ambulatory patients in cities with populations of less than 10,000 that are currently unable to accept electronic prescriptions or meet requirements for exchange without updating their existing pharmacy system are eligible for hardware for up to $5,000, software, and transaction costs for up to one year

Go to www.health.state,.mn.us/divs/hpsc/ohit/hiemn.html for more information, or email Anne Schloegel at MDH at anne.schloegel@state.mn.us or call (651) 201-3850.

The Minnesota Commissioner of Health is now able to award grants to eligible hospitals under the “Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program”. The state program helps small rural hospitals with 50 or fewer beds undertake needed modernization projects to update, remodel, or replace aging hospital facilities and the equipment necessary to maintain the hospital.

Previous legislation a few years age made several changes. The state’s legislation clarified that hospitals are eligible for the funding if they are located in a rural area or a non-Twin cities rural community with a population of less than 15,000. The legislation also added electronic health records systems as an eligible project for funds. Eligible applicants must be able to demonstrate that at least one quarter of any grant amount is available from non-state sources.

The FY 2012 funding will be approximately $1,755,000 much less than the $2.6 million available in 2003 and the $4.6 million available in 2002. Given the reduced level of funding, MDH is limiting the maximum award amount to $125,000. MDH expects to make approximately 17-20 grant awards.

The Pre-Application is due to MDH December 16, 2011 with the Final Application due to MDH on March 16, 2012. Projects will be awarded in April 2012 with contracts completed around June 1, 2011.

Go to www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/grants/pdf/capimprovfinal.pdf or contact Doug Benson, MDH Office of rural Health & Primary Care at 800-366-5424 or 651-201-3842.