The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Rural Health Policy is taking applications for the Rural Health Information Technology Network Development (RHITND) grant program.
The RHITND program is authorized under Section 330A (f) of the Public Health Service Act. The primary purpose of the program is to support rural organizations in their ability to achieve meaningful use requirements. It aims to expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential healthcare services and enhance the delivery of healthcare in rural areas, according to the HRSA, an organization in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The program will support rural providers who work in formal networks, alliances, coalitions or partnerships in their effort to achieve meaningful use.
Applicants for the RHITND program must meet at least one of three requirements:
- The lead applicant organization must be located in a rural area or in a rural census tract of an urban county, and all services must be provided in a rural county or census tract. Networks that serve rural communities, but whose applicant organization is not in a designated rural area, will not be considered for funding under this announcement.
- The applicant organization exists exclusively to provide services to migrant and seasonal farm workers in rural areas and is supported under Section 330G of the Public Health Service Act. These organizations are eligible regardless of the urban or rural location of the administrative headquarters.
- The applicant is a tribal government whose grant-funded activities will be conducted within their federally recognized tribal area.
One RHITND award will be made to one member of the network, which will be the grantee of record. Only that organization needs to meet the eligibility criteria.
Upon completion of the grant program, a network should have thorough strategic planning and business planning processes in place, as well as a sound strategy for sustaining operations, HHS stated. Some anticipated outcomes of supporting the development of rural health networks include:
- Achieving economies of scale and cost efficiencies;
- Increasing the financial viability of the network;
- Enhancing workforce recruitment and retention;
- Sharing staff and expertise across network members;
- Enhancing the continuum of care; and
- Ensuring quality improvement of care provided by network members.
This program is not intended to fund direct delivery of services, but grants can be used for workforce analysis, EHR strategic plan development and training, purchase of heath IT equipment, finding certified equipment vendors and installation of broadband, according to HHS.
Applications will be accepted through May 27.
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