On February 12th, 2010 U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb announced $24 million in federal stimulus funding for two projects that will “jump-start” Virginia’s transition to expanded use of healthcare information technology (HIT) and electronic health records (EHR). These grants will help Virginia medical professionals as they work to implement and use HIT to lower consumer health care costs, minimize redundant paperwork and reduce medical errors.
Approximately $11.6 million has been awarded to the Virginia Department of Health to further the transition to a standardized health IT network. An additional $12.4 million has been awarded to a non-profit, statewide project led by the Virginia Health Quality Center in Richmond and the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon to establish regional extension centers to provide HIT and EHR outreach and support services to providers and hospitals serving Virginia’s Medicare population.
“Investing in health care technologies will improve the quality of health care for millions of Virginians and help rein in excessive overhead costs,” said Senator Webb. “I am also pleased that these stimulus funds will support the providers and hospitals serving the nearly 2 million Virginians eligible for Medicare.”
“While several of our larger Virginia health care providers already have become national leaders in the use of health IT, these grants will significantly help individual providers as they work to implement and use this technology to establish a two-way exchange of information with local health departments,” Senator Warner said. “This represents a smart, one-time investment in Virginia’s economic infrastructure – investments that should help build on our health IT investment and work to establish electronic medical records in hospitals, nursing homes and physicians’ offices that will improve care and reduce costs.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was adopted by Congress last February at the peak of a global economic crisis. One-third of the stimulus package was made up of tax cuts, and almost three million Virginia families ultimately will see $1.5 billion in tax relief over three years. Another one-third of the stimulus package helped states and localities weather the sudden economic downturn, and Virginia received a combined $5.2 Billion in this one-time stimulus spending. T he final one-third is designated for longer-term investments in the country’s economic infrastructure.