HHS names last regional HIT contractors

The Obama administration on Tuesday named the last of a long list of regional contractors charged with helping doctors and hospitals transition from paper-based medical records to electronic systems. 

CalOptima Foundation was awarded a two-year, $4.7 million contract to cover Orange County, Calif., while Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative will receive roughly $5.1 million to cover the state of New Hampshire, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced.

The contractors are the final pieces of the national network of Regional Extension Centers (RECs) created to facilitate providers' adoption of health information technologies. That network was launched by last year's economic stimulus bill, with provided $677 million for RECs over two years. 

"The selection of these final awardees means that Regional Extension Centers are now in place in every region of our country to help health providers make the switch from paper-based medical practice to electronic health records," David Blumenthal, HHS' national coordinator for health information technology, said in a statement. 

"For primary care physicians and smaller hospitals in particular, the RECs will be an important resource to help meet the challenges of adopting [electronic health records] and using them to deliver better care."