On February 17, 2009, the President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
Title XIII of Division A and Title IV of Division B of ARRA, together cited as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), include provisions to promote
meaningful use of health information technology to improve the quality and value of American health care.
The HITECH Act also established the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) within the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the principal federal entity responsible for coordinating the effort to implement a nationwide health information technology (health IT) infrastructure that allows for the use and exchange of electronic health information in electronic format.
The HITECH Act (Title IV in Division B of ARRA) authorizes incentive payments for eligible Medicare and Medicaid providers meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology.
In 2015, providers are expected to have adopted and be actively utilizing an EHR in compliance with the meaningful use definition or they will be subject to financial penalties under Medicare (per Sections 4101(b) and 4102(b) of ARRA).
The detailed criteria to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments will be established by the Secretary of HHS (hereafter referred to as the Secretary) through the formal notice-and-comment rulemaking process.
For access to the most current publicly available information about meaningful use, please visit the Meaningful Use section of the ONC programmatic website at:
Providers seeking to meaningfully use EHRs face a variety of challenging tasks.
Those tasks include assessing needs, selecting and negotiating with a system vendor or reseller, implementing project management, and instituting workflow changes to improve clinical performance and ultimately, outcomes.
Past experience has shown that robust local technical assistance can result in effective implementation of EHRs and quality improvement throughout a defined geographic area.
Section 3012 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), as amended by ARRA (see Appendix A), authorizes a Health Information Technology Extension Program (Extension Program).
By statute, the Extension Program consists of a national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC), and Regional Extension Centers (Regional Centers).
(For a discussion of the HITRC and its relationship to the Regional Centers, see Appendix B.
1. ) This funding opportunity announcement seeks applications from qualified entities to serve as Regional Centers within the Extension Program.
(For information about additional priority grant programs authorized by the HITECH Act to address critical, short-term prerequisites to achieving the vision of a transformed health system where every American benefits from secure, interoperable EHRs, see Appendix B.