October 24, 2010; Source: Healthcare IT News | Nine-hundred-thousand dollars has been awarded to three Brookings, South Dakota health organizations to build an electronically based community health information network.

The network, comprised of Brookings Health System, Avera Medical Group Brookings and United Retirement Center Avera are amongĀ 40 across the nation awarded a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. A list of grantees is available here. In total, $11.9 million will be awarded across the country to purchase equipment, install broadband networks and provide training for staff. The program is part of President Obama’s Rural Health Initiative. The grant to the Brookings group will be paid out over three years.

The funds are worth a great deal to these networks as long-term financial levers that allow the participating agencies to apply for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – thus increasing their rates. This improves their sustainability at the same time that it increases their effectiveness.—Ruth McCambridge