by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe has appointed Ray Scott to oversee spending of $15 million the state has received in federal stimulus money for health information technology. I've asked the governor's office for the amount of stimulus that will reach Scott personally.
UPDATE: He'll be paid $120,000 under contract, not as a permanent employee, from a $7.9 million cooperative agreement grant for Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health.
Governor Mike Beebe today appointed Ray Scott of Little Rock to serve as Arkansas's State Coordinator for Health Information Technology (HIT).
Scott, 62, has worked for 35 years in the health and human-services fields, having served in the administrations of seven Arkansas governors, including his tenure as Director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services. He was also U.S. Senator David Pryor's Chief of Staff during Pryor's first term in the U.S. Senate.
"The federal HIT funding we have received is merely a down-payment toward a long-term planning-and-development process," Beebe said. "I have asked Ray to ensure that we make the wisest use of new and existing resources in our state toward the adoption and best use of health-information-technology for our citizens."
Health-information-technology grants have been awarded to Arkansas as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The purpose of these grant programs is to promote the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health-and-medical records to improve the quality and efficiency of health care. The State HIT Coordinator will work with the recipients of these grants and with leaders in the health-and-information communities in Arkansas to coordinate the planning and development of health-information-technology solutions. To date, Arkansas has received over $15 million in ARRA HIT grants.
Prior to his return to public service, Scott served as a program and policy consultant to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.