SAMHSA awards more than $13.2 million in healthcare IT funding to health centers

The healthcare IT infrastructure of 47 health centers across the U.S. is due to be expanded in an effort to improve connectivity between facilities and the quality of patient care, thanks to more than $13.2 million in grants that are being awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Each of the 47 community health centers will receive approximately $200,000 to improve their healthcare IT facilities. The adoption of medical informatics networks is a primary objective of the initiative, in addition to equipment requisition, installation costs and personnel training. Once participating healthcare centers have implemented a medical informatics system, they will have access to shared informational resources that will enable them to more effectively treat patients with complex psychological, emotional and behavioral disorders.

“Making meaningful use of [electronic health records (EHRs)] represents the foundation for better health, improved care and lower costs,” said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health IT, as quoted by Healthcare IT News. “EHRs offer providers the tools necessary to give patients, including those with mental health and substance use problems, the right care at the right time while protecting patient privacy and security.”

SAMHSA is will also award more than $3.8 million in funding to community healthcare facilities to implement clinical informatics systems, in collaboration with the National Council on Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Pamela Hyde, an administrator with SAMHSA, told the news source that the adoption of medical informatics networks significantly improved the quality of care for patients, and that the grants were a “critical down payment” on the healthcare IT investment required to ensure that patients with behavioral and substance abuse problems were treated effectively.

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