Critical access and rural hospitals will receive a $12 million boost in technical support funding to become meaningful users of certified health information technology, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced Tuesday.
The funding will flow through ONC’s regional extension centers, which provide doctors with training and support services and guidance for adopting electronic health records.
In September, regional extension centers received $20 million for the same purpose. Similar to other ONC programs, aid for the hospitals is provided through the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in the 2009 stimulus package.
The added funds will help 1,777 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the Washington-area based nationwide Indian Country to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
To date, 14,000 providers have registered for Medicaid bonus payments for doctors and hospitals that demonstrate meaningful use of health IT, said Ted Smith, senior advisor for innovation in health IT at ONC, during a Government Executive webinar series Tuesday. Smith said the first Medicaid payments will go out May 1.