What resources are available for capital and health IT funding in rural settings?
Funding for capital projects is a major concern for many rural healthcare facilities. Capital funding is defined as financial support used to expand or renovate a building, to purchase major equipment, including health IT software and hardware, or to construct a new facility for a rural health provider. In searching for funding for capital projects, smaller ambulatory providers may consider the benefits of partnering with a local hospital or other similar providers in purchasing equipment, acquiring software and/or contracting for IT maintenance services as means for pooling available resources and reducing costs. CAHs and small hospitals also face challenges in securing capital for health IT projects. These institutions may seek grants and loans from the Federal Government, State Government, and foundations. In addition, community initiatives, fundraising efforts, and donations from local residents may assist in obtaining the funding needed to implement and maintain a health IT system.
Financial incentives available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for the demonstration of meaningful use by non-hospital-based providers starting in 2011 offer additional funding to implement and maintain an electronic health record. Eligible providers will be able to take advantage of incentives under either Medicare or Medicaid. Acute care hospitals, including CAHs and small rural hospitals are also eligible for incentives under ARRA and can receive funding available under both the Medicaid and Medicaid programs.
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