[mla-nynj] HITECH Grants Announced

Mahnaz Tehrani mtehrani1985 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 25 18:46:32 UTC 2009

Dear Members,

I like to share the message received from Mary Langman, the Coordinator of
Information Issues and Policy at MLA Association which is in regards to the
first two HITECH grant programs announced by the White House.

* A Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology*

Today’s announcement from the White House regarding the rollout of the first
two in a series of HITECH priority grant programs represents a critical step
forward in laying the groundwork for meaningful use of electronic health
records (EHRs). These programs will offer valuable help to health care
providers in the selection and incorporation of EHRs into clinical practice,
and for States and their designates to assure that statewide information
exchange is developed with an eye toward nationwide connectivity across the
health care system.

It’s no coincidence that these two grant programs are leading the way.  Key
to the successful adoption and meaningful use of EHRs is the assurance that
providers have the help and guidance they need to select, implement and
maintain a certified EHR system.  In addition, we need the various and often
disparate local, statewide and regional systems to work together, regardless
of location and differing state and federal standards or policies, to
enhance patient care.

Toward that end, the first grant program, the Health Information Technology
Extension Program, will fund dozens of Health Information Technology
Regional Extension Centers across the country.  The regional extension
centers will offer hospitals and clinicians hands-on technical assistance to
support meaningful use of certified EHR systems.  These modern health IT
centers could be considered as somewhat akin to the agricultural extension
centers Congress set up early in the 20th century, which helped to support
vast improvements in the efficiency, quality and productivity of the
agricultural sector.

We hope this 21st century health IT extension program will have a similarly
profound effect in helping health care providers through a major transition
in our nation’s health system, ultimately improving the quality, efficiency,
reliability, availability and equity of care for every American.

A national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC) will also
be created. The HITRC will help the regional centers collaborate with each
other, and it will serve as a national clearinghouse to identify and share
best practices and experiences so that providers can learn from what others
have gone through as they’ve put such systems in place.

The second grant program will help States and Qualified State Designated
Entities (SDEs) to develop or align the necessary policies, procedures and
network systems to assist electronic information exchange within and across
states, and ultimately throughout the health care system.  A key to this
program’s overall success will be technical, legal and financial support for
information exchanges across health care providers.

Together, the grants will offer much-needed local and regional assistance
and technical support to providers while enabling coordination and alignment
within and among states, ultimately allowing information to follow patients
anywhere within the health care system. They are a clear sign that the
Administration is delivering on its promise to transform care.

As we push hard to make EHRs available to all Americans, and the use of
electronic health information part of an expected standard of care, we also
are intensely focused on ensuring the privacy and security of patient
records.  If we want to achieve nationwide use of EHRs, patients first and
foremost must be assured and have confidence that their electronic personal
health information is private, secure and safe.  The technology to secure
this information exists, and is constantly improving through advances in
encryption and de-identification of data.  The protection of all health
information is absolutely central to all of our efforts in support of
electronic health information exchange.

To learn more about the HITECH priority grants program and application
requirements, please visit our website,
For other health it information, please visit

I look forward to providing you with more updates on our progress, and to
continued interactions with all the communities that have so much to gain
from this profound transformation.


*David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.*
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

More information about the mla-nynj mailing list