Regional extension centers throughout the country are gearing up to help promote the adoption and use of health IT, Modern Healthcare reports.
Congress in the 2009 federal stimulus law mandated that HHS create a nationwide network of RECs.
The first 60 centers were selected through a competitive application process and were given a total of $642 million in grants for the first two years of operation.
A third funding round of $24.9 million will be awarded later this month to help RECs assist critical-access hospitals and rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 6/16).
At this week's Government Health IT Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., several REC leaders offered updates on their progress.
Beth Schindele, project director of the Delaware Regional Extension Center, recently announced that the center will target the more than 1,300 primary care physicians in Delaware with a goal of reaching 1,000. The center plans to use 90% of its grant money on giving physicians incentives to use health IT.
David Groves, executive director of the Healthbridge Tri-State Regional Extension Center, said the new Cincinnati-based center will not only reach out to physicians in Ohio, but in Kentucky and Indiana as well. He said the center will target around 7,000 primary care physicians to start, with a goal of aiding 1,800 in achieving "meaningful use" of health IT by 2012 to qualify for federal incentive payments.
Jenni Brockman, director of Communications and Organizational Growth at the Virginia Health Quality Center, said the organization has partnered with the Center for Innovative Technology, Community Care Network of Virginia and the Medical Society of Virginia to form an REC covering the entire state. She said the REC will use a $12.4 million federal grant to target around 2,300 primary care physicians, or about 20% of primary care providers in the state (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 6/16).