CMS awards health IT planning grants to states

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services handed out $17 million in matching funds to seven states and one territory for preparations for handling health IT payments from the economic stimulus law.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has distributed more than $17 million to date in matching funds to state Medicaid agencies to help them plan for distribution of health information technology funds from the economic stimulus law.

The stimulus law provided nearly $20 billion in incentives for health IT, most of which will be distributed to doctors and hospitals that buy and meaningfully use certified electronic health record systems. The payments will be in the form of Medicaid and Medicare incentives.

The law provides for a 90 percent federal match to state Medicaid agencies to conduct their planning for how they will channel those funds, audit the money and participate in statewide efforts to promote electronic medical record use and health information exchanges.

The state agencies also will create a state Medicaid health IT plan and conduct an analysis of the current status of health IT activities in the state, barriers to the use of electronic health records, and provider eligibility for the incentive payments, states a news release from CMS dated Dec. 9.

The eight states and territories and the grant amounts they have received to date are:

  • New York State: $5.9 million.
  • Texas: $3.9 million.
  • Georgia: $3.2 million.
  • California: $2.5 million.
  • Iowa: $1.2 million. 
  • Montana: $239,000.
  • Virgin Islands: $232,000.
  • Idaho: $142,000.

In a related program, the Health and Human Services Department recently announced $236 million for six "Beacon Communities" to be selected nationwide as examples of health IT implementation.