I attended HIMSS Summit of the Southeast in Nashville on September 9, 2009. As is probably no surprise, this was a well-attended conference with some good speakers and engaging panel discussions. Among the excellent speakers was David Goetz, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, who gave a “state of the state” address regarding Tennessee’s preparation to implement electronic health records.
Mr. Goetz highlighted the recent decision by HHS to allocate money to the states rather than use a competitive application process with regard to the award of grants for HITECH “cooperative agreements” that, per CMS, “focus on developing the statewide policy, governance, technical infrastructure and business practices needed to support the delivery of HIE [health information exchange] services.” Mr. Goetz indicated that using an allocation process rather than competitive applications probably is more fair to those states who are not as far along with e-Health and are dealing with a budget crisis. States still must file a letter of intent by Friday, September 11, 2009 to participate in this funding. The actual application is due by October 16, 2009. Not much time!
Many more details about the grant application process are available here.