White House announces $20M for rural hospital records

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced almost $20 million in federal funds to help rural hospitals switch to electronic health records. 

The funds will go to 46 Regional Extension Centers serving providers in 41 states.  A total of 1,655 critical access and rural hospitals are in the areas covered by the centers.

"The benefits of health information technology can be especially important for patients and clinicians in small and rural health care facilities, yet these facilities face high hurdles as they look toward joining in the transition to electronic information," Sebelius said in a statement. "The funding we are announcing today is a new category of support, aimed specifically at assisting critical access and rural hospitals with their particular needs and challenges."

The funding is part of last year's recovery act.

The list of the new recipients is available here.