Today, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced the final two regional extension centers, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. RECs were established under the HITECH Act to help physicians and hospitals adopt electronic health records.
The final two RECs are the:
- CalOptima Foundation, which received $4.7 million to cover Orange County, Calif.; and
- Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, which received $5.1 million to cover the state of New Hampshire (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/28).
The two new RECs join a national system of 62 organizations. The RECs aim to assist in health IT efforts among:
- Rural hospitals;
- Small practices; and
- Public health clinics (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 9/28).
The 2009 economic stimulus package provided $677 million across two years to fund the RECs.
Blumenthal Weighs In
National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal said that the selection of the final two RECs means that the extension centers are now available "in every region of our country to help health providers make the switch from paper-based medical practice to electronic health records" (Lubell, Modern Healthcare, 9/28).
REC Expansion in Florida
Meanwhile, officials announced expansions in coverage for two RECs in Florida:
- Community Health Centers Alliances will cover additional areas in Glades and Hendry counties; and
- Health Choice Network of Florida will cover additional areas in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties (Healthcare IT News, 9/28).
A complete list of REC grant recipients is available on the HHS website.