David Blumenthal, MD, Health and Human Services' (HHS) National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, has announced plans to make available $80 million in grants to help develop and strengthen the HIT workforce. The grants that will be made available include $70 million for community college training programs and $10 million to develop educational materials to support these programs. Both programs will support the immediate need for skilled HIT professionals who will enable the broad adoption and use of HIT throughout the United States.
Authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the grants are the first in a series of programs to help strengthen and support the HIT workforce. Additional details regarding the grant programs for these and other key resource and training areas will be announced over the next several weeks.
The Community College program will establish intensive, nondegree training that can be completed in six months or less by individuals with some background in either healthcare or IT fields. Participating colleges will coordinate their efforts through five regional consortia that span the nation. Graduates of this training will fill a variety of roles that both assist healthcare practices during the critical process of deploying IT systems and support these practices on an ongoing basis.
The curriculum development program will make high-quality educational materials available to the community colleges so these training programs can be established quickly to meet these workforce needs.
Any U.S. nonprofit institution of higher learning currently engaged in providing training in HIT that is interested in drafting curriculum or establishing a consortium that includes community colleges may apply for the grants. Information about grant applications will be available shortly at http://healthIT.HHS.gov/HITECHgrants.
Source: Health and Human Services