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Archive for Saturday, February 13, 2010

Federal stimulus funds to aid state health records

February 13, 2010

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— The Obama administration on Friday announced more than $975 million in grants to help states, doctors and hospitals move from paper to computerized record keeping.

The state of Kansas will receive $9 million, officials said.

“This announcement is great news for Kansas as it will bring countless opportunities in terms of creating jobs, advancing technology and reducing our overall health care costs,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson.

Studies show electronic medical records help reduce medical errors and improve the quality of patient care. The grant money comes from the economic stimulus passed by Congress last year and is part of a push to get health care providers to adopt electronic record keeping.

The White House says the awards will help make electronic record-keeping technologies available to more than 100,000 hospitals and primary care physicians by the year 2014 while helping train thousands of people for careers in health care and information technology.

The grants come from two federal agencies.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $386 million in grants to advance electronic health records at the state level. Sebelius is also granting $375 million to 32 nonprofits for regional training of health care workers on these technologies.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced around $225 million to support 55 job-training programs in 30 states. The administration says around 15,000 people should get training in the health records technology field. Solis said the training will lead those people to jobs offering career-track employment and good pay and benefits.

In addition to the grant to the state, the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care Inc. received a $7 million grant, according to information provided by the federal government. The Topeka-based organization is a nonprofit that focuses on Medicare and Medicaid patients, according to its Web site.

Reporter Scott Rothschild contributed to this story.

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