The HITECH Act authorizes a Health Information Technology Extension Program. The extension program consists of Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (RECs) and a national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC).
What is the HITRC?
The HITRC will gather information on effective practices and help the RECs work with one another and with relevant stakeholders to identify and share best practices in EHR adoption, meaningful use, and provider support.
What are the Regional Extension Centers (RECs)?
The RECs will support and serve health care providers to help them quickly become adept and meaningful users of electronic health records (EHRs). RECs are designed to make sure that primary care clinicians get the help they need to use EHRs.
Provide training and support services to assist doctors and other providers in adopting EHRs
Offer information and guidance to help with EHR implementation
Give technical assistance as needed
The goal of the program is to provide outreach and support services to at least 100,000 priority primary care providers within two years.
Under HITECH, $677 million is allocated to support a nationwide system of RECs that cover every geographic region of the United States to ensure plenty of support to health care providers in communities across the country. Awards made:
February 2010: $375 million awarded to establish 32 RECs.
April 2010: $267 million awarded to establish an additional 28 RECs.
September 10, 2010: nearly $20 million in additional funding awarded to 46 existing RECs to support critical access and rural hospitals in their efforts to adopt certified EHR technology.
September 28, 2010: additional funding awarded to establish two new RECs and expand coverage areas with two existing Florida RECs.
January 27, 2011: additional funding awarded in the amount of $32 million to accelerate outreach to health care providers to encourage registration for the EHR Incentive Program and to provide continued support in the field.
February 8, 2011: $12 million in supplemental funding awarded to existing RECs to support eligible critical access and rural hospitals in their efforts to adopt certified EHR technology.