HHS announces $162 million in 16 state HIE grants

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday $162 million in awards to 16 states and qualified state designated entities for the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program.

The funding is part of $2 billion allotted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to advance healthcare IT adoption.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said with the awards announced Monday, every state and eligible territory has now been awarded funds under this program.

"These critical investments will help unleash the power of health information technology to cut costs, eliminate paperwork and help doctors deliver high-quality, coordinated care to patients," Sebelius said.

"States are important partners in improving and expanding our electronic health records system," she said. "By improving the secure exchange of electronic health records between providers and hospitals within and across states, these awards mark a significant step in bringing our health system into the 21st century."

David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology said Monday's awards are critical to enabling care coordination and improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare.

With all states now empowered to start their journey toward identifying innovative ways to break down these barriers that prevent the seamless exchange of information, we can give patients the access to care they deserve and expect, Blumenthal said.

On February 12, 2010, HHS awarded $385 million to 40 states and state designated entities for the state HIE grant program. The awards announced Monday complete the awarding of cooperative agreements funded by this program, Sebelius said.

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