The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on Wednesday announced that it will give two additional awards, worth nearly $30.4 million combined, in its Beacon Communities program. ONC earlier this month awarded $220 million in Beacon Communities grants to 15 locales.
The Beacon Communities, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are intended to demonstrate how EMRs and other health IT can improve the quality of care and reduce healthcare costs. Federal funding will help accelerate EMR adoption in those communities and spur job creation in the HIT sector, ONC has said.
To qualify, a community must demonstrate national leadership in health IT, workflow redesign, care coordination or quality monitoring and reporting, as well as have high rates of EMR and HIE usage, Healthcare IT News reports. The communities must be ready to apply health IT to community-wide coordination of care and quality advancement.
Letters of intent to bid for the new grants are due June 9 and final applications must be received by June 28. ONC expects to announce the winners in August and start funding the communities around Aug. 13. Awards will be made to not-for-profit or government entities.