Saturday, December 15, 2012

Help for the Underserved

Funding for $18.8 million was awarded to the State of Illinois under the HITECH Act in 2010 to implement the State HIE. Recently, Pat Quinn Governor of Illinois announced that $1.3 million of the federal funding is being awarded to three Illinois not-for-profit organizations to help them upgrade health information technology services in underserved areas of the state.

The federal funding has enabled the Illinois Office of Health Information (OHIT) to award the funding to connect providers in the Metro-Chicago area, Central and Southern Illinois. The OHIT anticipates that the grants will enable more than 1,600 individual providers to connect with more than 48 healthcare organizations serving hundreds of thousands of patients each year.

The three grants awarded:

  • The grant amount of $495,120 goes to Heartland Health Outreach which is the healthcare arm of the Heartland Alliance of Community Health Services to provide primary care, mental health, and dental treatment along with grant funding going to the Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center in Chicago
  • The grant amount of $338,600 goes to the Illinois Critical Access Hospital in Princeton
  • The grant amount of $500,000 goes to Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale including Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital, and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital
 The grants were made possible by OHIT as part of its White Space Grant Program that fills in gaps throughout the state and connects organizations to health information exchange services that would not otherwise be able to connect.

“Illinois health information exchange network is only as strong as the volume and geographic diversity of providers connected to it,” OHIT Director Laura Zaremba said. “Through these projects, we are connecting providers in communities that need our assistance the most.”