Health IT Centers of the Country: Unite!

More than 60 regional centers form a national association.

The 62 regional extension centers created by the federal government to help small medical practices evaluate and adopt electronic health records have united to form a national association to advocate for the continued support of health IT.

The Association of Regional Centers for Health Information Technology, or ARCH-IT, represents the regional centers and the independent health-care providers they serve, according to a news release announcing the new organization.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Regional provides funds to pay for the extension centers’ operations, but federal support isn’t expected to continue after 2013. More than 140,000 health-care providers have enrolled in REC programs, according to the news release.

“In the near future, … small practices will see significant changes affecting all aspects of their performance, from revamped payment models to Stage 2 and 3 of meaningful use, and from privacy and security compliance to the transition to ICD-10,” says the association’s treasurer, Greg Schieke, of the Nebraska/Wide River Technology Extension Center. “The need for unbiased, trusted advisers like RECs will only grow.”

ARCH-IT, based in Silver Spring, Md., does not have a website yet. Its executive director, David M. Bergman, can be reached at (202) 596-7327 or