Government Announces $80 Million in Grants to Develop Health Care Information Technology Workforce

By Staff Report

Nov. 25, 2009

David Blumenthal, head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced that HHS will make available $70 million in grants to community colleges to address an estimated shortfall of 50,000 workers needed in health care IT.

The grants will go to five consortia comprising 70 community colleges nationwide.

They are expected to create six-month nondegree programs to train 10,000 workers a year to help set up and maintain electronic health record systems subsidized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. An additional $10 million will be earmarked to develop training materials for these workers, Blumenthal said.

Details of the programs will be released soon in an official notice and call for grant applications. Blumenthal made the announcement Tuesday, November 24, in a telephone news conference.

Charles Friedman, the ONC’s deputy national coordinator, who also attended the news briefing, said the grants could, at the colleges’ discretion, include funding for scholarships for tech students.

“The programs will be designed to be implemented as quickly as possible,” Friedman said. “The need is quite profound.”

Filed by Joseph Conn of Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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