Connecting state and local government leaders
The initiative will help rural facilities invest in modern IT infrastructure to improve data collection and reporting.
To improve public health data collection and reporting in support of health equity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday awarded nearly $90 million in American Rescue Plan funds to community health centers.
Data modernization and improved data quality will help health centers better identify and respond to the specific needs of patients and communities, advance COVID-19 response, mitigation and recovery efforts and prepare for future public health emergencies, the agency said in a statement. The funding from the Uniform Data System Patient-Level Submission initiative will also help facilities invest in modern IT infrastructure and provide staff with improved training on health data analysis and reporting.
“With better information, programs can tailor their efforts to improve health outcomes and advance health equity by more precisely targeting the needs of specific communities or patients, particularly as part of the public health emergency response,” agency officials said.
The one-time supplement could provide more than 1,400 facilities across the country about $60,000 each to increase their capacities for monitoring COVID-19 and their data analysis and reporting. Only care centers previously funded by the department’s Health Resources and Services Administration may apply for the benefits.
“We have prioritized advancing equity in our COVID-19 response and throughout all of our work," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Community health centers have played a pivotal role in the nation's COVID-19 response, and now serve more than 30 million people across the country. Today's investments will help ensure that all patients have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve."
Monday’s announcement builds upon the Uniform Data System Modernization Initiative that aims to standardize health and patient data among participants of the Health Center Program. These efforts could ensure a better evaluation for health center services and outcomes.