HHS awards $220M to 15 EHR 'beacon communities'

Vice President Joe Biden joined with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday to announce the 15 "beacon communities" that will receive a total of $220 million in federal funding to serve as national models for adoption of EHRs and other health IT.

"These pioneering communities are going to lead the way in bringing smarter, lower-cost healthcare to all Americans through use of electronic health records," Biden said in a prepared statement. "Because of their early efforts, doctors across the country will one day be able to coordinate patient care with the stroke of a key or pull up life-saving health information instantly in an emergency--and for the residents of these communities, that future is about to become a reality."

The 15 communities, stretching from eastern Maine to the Big Island of Hawaii and encompassing urban, suburban and rural areas, were selected from among 130 applicants, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. In their applications, the communities had to spell out measurable goals for improving quality, efficiency and population health, and the federal dollars will support specific programs to bring together providers, health programs and patients to meet those goals with the help of EHRs.

For details:
- check out this Healthcare IT News story
- see Dr. David Blumenthal's post on ONC's Health IT Buzz blog
- read this HHS press release