WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 -- Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y. (21st CD), issued the following news release:
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it has granted the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) (http://www.fdrhpo.org/) $287,592.00 under the Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program. U.S. Congressman Bill Owens and FDRHPO Executive Director Denise Young applauded the announcement.
HHS's $287,592 grant will fund projects in the tri-county Fort Drum region that expand the Health Information Technology (HIT) workforce. HHS designated Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties as a Health Professional Shortage Area and noted its high rate of preventable chronic diseases. By expanding the HIT workforce, and with it patient access to health professionals, FDRHPO will help prevent these chronic diseases.
Congressman Bill Owens wrote a letter of support for the FDRHPO's grant application in April.
"Better technology means better preventative care, which reduces hospital admissions, readmissions and emergency room visits. That means lower health care costs and insurance premiums for all of us," Congressman Bill Owens said. "Rural regions like Northern New York are ideal places to lead the implementation of this kind of technology, and few organizations are as trusted by the community as the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization."
FDRHPO's Executive Director, Denise Young, explained the importance of HHS's investment. "With the implementation of electronic medical records to improve patient care for the people of the North Country, it is critical that we have a workforce prepared to effectively deploy and utilize the technology," Young said. "FDRHPO is pleased to be the recipient of this opportunity to work with Jefferson Community College and physicians and hospitals across the region to grow the health information technology education program."
Jefferson Community College will partner with FDRHPO to educate and train the region's Health and Information Technology Specialists.
Jill Pippin, Dean for Continuing Education at Jefferson Community College, said "This type of training is integral to the mission of the College, and we are pleased to be a partner with FDRHPO in providing it to the community. The education that students will receive will provide them with skills training, career development, and the application of practical knowledge that will assist them in their daily or future careers."
This is not the first time FDRHPO has helped create a national model for health care technology. The organization previously carried out a successful Rural Healthcare Broadband Pilot Project and a HEAL-NY project to facilitate Electronic Health Records and the creation of a Health Information Exchange.
The Health Information Technology Workforce Program is a national effort to recruit, educate, train and retain Health Information Technology Specialists. HIT Specialists help rural hospitals and medical clinics create and then run digital health care systems. Types of projects funded by the nationwide effort include the transition to electronic medical records, telehealth programs, technology-based home monitoring networks and mobile health technology.
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