HHS, DOL announce regional extension center, HIE and HIT training grants

By Bernie Monegain
07:03 AM

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced Friday nearly $1 billion in grant awards for regional extension center, health information exchange and healthcare IT training.

The funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will go toward advancing healthcare IT, training workers for healthcare IT jobs and helping to make healthcare IT available to more than 100,000 healthcare providers, according to Sebelius.

At a press conference Friday, federal officials said the grants will help create "tens of thousands of jobs nationwide," ranging from nurses and pharmacy techs to IT technicians and trainers.

Sebelius announced over $750 million in HHS state and regional grants to support widespread meaningful use of healthcare IT. 

Of the more than $750 million in grants announced Friday, $386 million will go to 40 states and qualified state designated entities to facilitate health information exchanges (HIE) at the state level, she said. An additional $375 million will go to an initial 32 non-profit organizations to support the development of regional extension centers (RECs).

Under the Recovery Act, Congress created RECs to help some 100,000 primary care providers and hospitals implement and use healthcare IT. Sebelius said HHS will announce additional HIE and REC awards in the future.

"Health information technology can make our health care system more efficient and improve the quality of care we all receive," Sebelius said. "These grant awards, the first of their kind, will help develop our electronic infrastructure and give doctors and other health care providers the support they need as they adopt this powerful technology."

Solis announced that more than $225 million in Department of Labor grant awards will be used to train 15,000 people in job skills needed to access careers in healthcare, IT and other high growth fields. 

"Through existing partnerships with local employers, the recipients of these grants have already identified roughly 10,000 job openings for skilled workers that likely will become available in the next two years in areas like nursing, pharmacy technology and information technology," Solis said.

According to Solis, the grants will fund 55 separate training programs in 30 states to help train people for "secure, well-paid health jobs and meet the growing employment demand for health workers."

Employment services will be available via the DOL's local One Stop Career Centers, and training will be offered at community colleges and other local education providers, she said.

"The Recovery Act's investments are making a positive difference in the lives of America's working families," Solis said. "The investments announced today will ensure thousands of workers across the nation can receive high-quality training and employment services, which will lead to good jobs in healthcare and other industries offering career-track employment and good pay and benefits."

The HHS and DOL awards are part of an overall $100 billion investment in science, innovation and technology the Obama Administration is making through the Recovery Act to spur domestic job creation in growing industries and lay a long-term foundation for economic growth, Solis said.

In addition to the 10,000 jobs the DOL grantees expect to fill with freshly trained workers, the health IT extension centers are expected to hire more than 3,000 technology workers nationwide in the months ahead, according to Solis.  

HIE grants were awarded to:

  • Alabama Medicaid Agency
  • Arizona Governor's Office of Economic Recovery
  • Arkansas Dept of Finance and Administration
  • California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Colorado Regional Health Information Organization
  • Delaware Health Information Network
  • Government of the District of Columbia
  • Georgia Department of Community Health
  • Office of the Governor (Guam)
  • The Hawaii Health Information Exchange
  • Illinois Department of Health care and Family Services
  • Kansas Health Information Exchange Project
  • Cabinet for Health and Family Services (Kentucky)
  • State of Maine/Governor's Office of Health Policy & Finance
  • Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation
  • Michigan Department of Health
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Missouri Depart of Social Services
  • Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
  • New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
  • Lovelace Clinic Foundation, New Mexico
  • New York eHealth Collaborative Inc.
  • Commonwealth of the NMI, Department of Public Health
  • North Carolina Department of State Treasurer
  • Ohio Health Information Partnership LLC
  • Oklahoma Health Care Authority
  • Pacific Ecommerce Development Corporation (American  Samoa)
  • State of Oregon
  • Governor's Office of Health Care Reform Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Oticina del Gobernador La Fortaeza (Puerto Rico)
  • Rhode Island Quality Institute
  • State of Tennessee
  • Utah Department of Health
  • Vermont Department of Human Services
  • Virgin Islands Department of Health
  • Virginia Department of Health
  • Health Care Authority (Washington)
  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
  • Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services
  • Office of the Governor of Wyoming

Regional Extension Center awards went to:

  • Altarum Institute, Michigan
  • Arkansas Foundation For Medical Care
  • CIMRO of Nebraska
  • Colorado RHIO
  • District of Columbia Primary Care Association
  • Fund for Public Health New York
  • Greater Cincinnati HealthBridge (Ohio-Kentucky)
  • Health Choice Network, Inc.,Florida
  • HealthInsight, Utah-Nevada
  • Iowa IFMC
  • Kansas Foundation for Medical Care Inc.
  • Key Health Alliance (Stratis Health), Minnesota - North Dakota
  • Lovelace Clinic, New Mexico
  • Massachusetts Technology Park Cooperation
  • MetaStar, Inc, Wisconsin
  • Morehouse School of Medicine, Inc., Georgia
  • New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC)
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Northern California Regional Extension Center
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • OCHIN Inc. (Primary), Oregon
  • Ohio Health Information Partnership
  • Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, Inc.
  • Purdue University
  • Qsource (Tennessee)
  • Qualis Health, Washington - Idaho
  • Rhode Island Quality Institute
  • Southern California Regional Extension Center
  • Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc.
  • VHQC and the Center for Innovative Technology, for The Virginia Consortium
  • West Virginia Health Improvement Institute Inc.

Job training awards went to:

  • Calhoun Community College
  • Mid-South Community College
  • South Arkansas Community College
  • Kern Community College District (KCCD)
  • Los Rios Community College District
  • Mt. San Antonio Community College District
  • San Diego State University Research Foundation
  • San Jose State University Research Foundation
  • San Bernardino Community College District
  • Youth Policy Institute
  • Spanish Speaking Unity Council
  • Otero Junior College
  • National Council of La Raza
  • Providence Health Foundation of Providence Hospital
  • DeKalb Technical College (DTC)
  • Governors State University
  • Indianapolis Private Industry Council, Inc.
  • Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
  • Iowa Workforce Development
  • Maysville Community and Technical College
  • Louisiana Technical College, Greater Acadiana Region 4
  • Southern University at Shreveport
  • Maine Department of Labor
  • The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)
  • Macomb Community College
  • American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center
  • Northland Community and Technical College
  • MN State Colleges & Universities DBA Pine Technical College
  • South Central College
  • The Montgomery Institute
  • Full Employment Council
  • Crowder College
  • Maryville University - St. Louis
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Passaic County Community College
  • Fulton Montgomery Community College (FMCC)
  • Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC)
  • University Behavioral Associates, Inc.
  • Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida Counties
  • Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving E. Neb and SW Iowa
  • Nevada Cancer Institute
  • Berea Children's Home
  • BioOhio
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Enterprise for Employment and Education
  • Trident Technical College
  • Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC)
  • The University of South Dakota
  • Centerstone of Tennessee, Inc.
  • North Central Texas College
  • San Jacinto Community College District
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB)
  • Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (SVWIB)
  • Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board