SAMHSA announces $4M in health IT awards

By Erin McCann
10:02 AM
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Information technology is percolating into virtually every realm of healthcare, and mental health has proved to be no exception. 

Officials at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced on Monday the allocation of more than $4 million in new grants for Health Information Technology services nationwide. 

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said the awards would fund the use of technology aimed in helping providers expand access to treatment and recovery support to patients in underserved areas. 

Officials say these new awards will allow organizations to leverage technology to enhance and expand the capacity of substance abuse treatment providers, allowing them to serve people who traditionally have been underserved due to limited access to treatment in their community. Transportation concerns, inadequate numbers of substance abuse treatment providers in the community or financial constraints can all contribute to this lack of access, officials say.  

[See also: SAMHSA awards $25 million for healthcare IT.]

The use of healthcare IT, including Web-based services, smart phones, and behavioral health electronic applications (e-apps), will expand and/or enhance the ability of providers to effectively communicate with persons in treatment and to track and manage their health to ensure treatment and services are available where and when needed. Grantees will use technology that will support recovery and resiliency efforts and promote wellness.

“One of the most important recent advances in medicine is the application of information technology to healthcare,” said Hyde. “It is important that the behavioral health field be part of these technological advances to reach people who need treatment with safe, high-quality care.”
The six awardees will receive up to $840,000 for the three-year projects. Continuations of these awards are subject to availability of funds and progress achieved by the awardees. The following is a list of the grant awardees and their grant amounts.

  • Buffalo Valley, Inc., Hohenwald, Tenn., awarded $840,000
  • State of Iowa – Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Des Moines, Iowa, awarded $838,200
  • First Choice Services, Inc., Charleston, West Va., awarded $790,083
  • Forest County Potawatomi Community, Crandon, Wis., awarded $840,000
  • Irene Stacy Community Mental Health Center, Butler, Pa., awarded $718,547

[See also: SAMHSA awards $13.2M in HIT grants to 47 community health centers.]