September 19, 2011

Delegation Announces $800K to Community Health Centers Across the State

Funds Will Help Improve Quality of Care and Electronic Reporting Capabilities

Washington, DC – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced $800,000 in federal funds designated for community health centers across the state through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The funding will help support ongoing efforts to broaden the adoption of health information technology (HIT), a key tool to improve the quality of care patients receive and reduce health care costs.

Eight of Rhode Island’s community health centers will each receive a $100,000 grant. These centers include: The Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, Northwest Community Health Care, Thundermist Health Center, East Bay Community Action Program, Providence Community Health Care, Wood River Health Services Inc., Comprehensive Community Action, and Tri-Town Economic Opportunity Committee. The funds were made available through under the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health insurance reform law.

“This is a smart investment that will help provide patients with better quality health care in a more efficient, effective manner,” said Reed. “As community health centers continue to purchase the technology necessary to improve and expand their health IT systems, this is also an investment that will reach companies throughout Rhode Island and support the state’s economy.”

“Rhode Island’s community health centers have long been leaders in the adoption and use of health IT,” said Whitehouse, a lead advocate for the creation of the “Beacon Communities” program and a national leader on the implementation of HIT. “This federal funding will not only strengthen the IT infrastructure at health centers, but move Rhode Island closer toward the goal of a robust, state-wide health information exchange.”

“The ongoing effort to equip our health centers with the best technology is critical to ensure the highest quality care and to lower costs through more efficient practices and reduced errors,” said Langevin. “As an added benefit, health care IT also represents a growing industry with the potential for local job creation, and these investments can help Rhode Island companies in this field to build up our economy.”

“This funding will support Rhode Island’s community health centers in meeting the growing need for high-quality and cost-efficient primary care,” said Cicilline. “Improving electronic reporting reinforces the ability of community health centers to provide innovative and high quality health care.”

HHS awarded $8.5 million to 85 community health center programs, located in 15 of the 17 Beacon Communities throughout the United States. Beacon Communities receive funds through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) to build and strengthen their HIT infrastructure and exchange capabilities to improve care coordination, increase the quality of care, and slow the growth of health care spending.


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