SAMHSA awards $13.2M in HIT grants to 47 community health centers

By Molly Merrill
08:56 AM

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced up to $13.2 million in new grants to support the expansion of health information technology in settings that serve people with mental and substance use disorders.

As part of this new initiative, 47 community health centers working to integrate primary care and behavioral health services will receive a one-year grant for $200,000. The grant will be used to develop health information technology infrastructure and expand the use of electronic health records. Once the EHR systems are in place, patients and providers can have ready access to the latest information on effective treatments and support systems, and exchange health information through secure means with appropriate patient permission.

“Making meaningful use of EHRs represents the foundation for better health, improved care and lower costs,” said National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD. “EHRs offer providers the tools necessary to give patients, including those with mental health and substance use problems, the right care at the right time while protecting patient privacy and security.”

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SAMHSA also announced a $3.8 million grant award to assist community health centers and state designated agencies with their efforts to implement electronic health records. The grant award is being made to the National Council on Community Behavioral Health Care to enhance SAMHSA efforts underway to integrate primary and behavioral health care in community based settings.

“Electronic health records improve quality, accountability, and cost effectiveness of health care services,” said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde. “Persons with behavioral health problems often have significant physical health issues as well. These grants are a critical down payment on the health information technology investment needed to ensure behavioral health service providers are fully interoperable with the general health system.”

These efforts support SAMHSA’s strategic initiative on HIT. The actual awards are subject to the availability of funds and the grantees’ performance.

See next page for grantees' award amounts.

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