Mich. applies for health IT stimulus funds

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced yesterday her state’s application for stimulus funds to help expand health information technology efforts.

Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help Michigan continue improve health care quality, reduce costs and enhance patient privacy through electronic exchange health information. In 2006, Gov. Granholm created the Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN) and created Conduit to Care, a blueprint for the state’s health IT strategy. Since then, the state legislature has allowed the administration to coordinate seven regional Health Information Exchange planning grants, two implementation grants, and a resource center to leverage resources and disseminate best practices across the state.

“By expanding the use of health information technology, we can reduce errors and duplication, cut insurance costs, and increase patients’ medical privacy,” Gov. Granholm said in a statement. “This funding will enable us to continue our efforts to create the statewide infrastructure necessary to ensure every Michigan citizen can benefit from the latest technology in health care.”

Department of Community Health Director Janet Olszewski wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, outlining the states intentions to vie for a piece of the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program. The State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program is a series of grants totaling more than $560 million to promote health IT, according to the program’s Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (.doc). No more than one award will be made per state, but states are allowed to enter into multi-state arrangements, the FOA said.

“The opportunity that the State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program presents for Michigan is significant,” Olszewski wrote in her letter. “Michigan is ready to receive this funding and assistance, and we will utilize it to leverage past investments in HIE to achieve a statewide infrastructure.”

Award winners will be announced December 15, 2009.

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