Survey: 85% of RECs Expect to Continue Operations Without Federal Funds

Launched with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to date the country's 62 regional extension centers have helped 872 critical access and small rural hospitals meet meaningful use requirements.

ARRA funding for the RECs is set to expire at the end of this year; however, 85 percent of RECs expect to continue operations, according to a HIMSS survey of REC leaders.

According to the survey, the RECs have varying expectations for when they'll run out of their current federal funds. As of December 2013 when the survey was conducted, 5 percent had already run out of federal money and 33 percent expected to be out by April. An additional 31 percent thought they'd be out by the end of 2014, and 28 percent thought they could make the money stretch into 2015. Three-quarters of the RECs surveyed had applied for a no-cost extension of ONC funding.

To maintain solvency, many RECs are turning to state grants — 49 percent of respondents reported having already received state funds. The RECs are also exploring partnerships with other organizations to help keep their doors open; 24 percent are partnering with other RECs, 21 percent are partnering with health information exchanges and 3 percent are partnering with provider organizations.

Overall, 92 percent of respondents said achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency was one of their organization's top priorities.

Survey responses came from 39 individuals representing 37 RECs.

More Articles on RECs:

RECs Successes Reveal 3 Best Meaningful Use Practices
REC Leader Leaving ONC
The Successes of Regional Extension Centers: 8 Takeaways

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