HHS awarding $87 million for IT enhancements at health centers

More than 1,300 health centers around the U.S. and in several overseas territories will receive a total of $87 million in federal grants to purchase or upgrade IT systems.

“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to millions of people,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “This investment will help unlock healthcare data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health care system for the American people.”

The HHS release said the grants, the first of their kind awarded since 2009,  will support technology enhancements to “accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care” and improve data sharing. Any electronic health record systems purchased or upgraded with the funding have to use technology certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The awards are spread out among facilities in all 50 states, most of them below $100,000. The largest single grant is $286,000 going to Altamed Health Services in Los Angeles.