ONC Grant Programs and Awards


Most of the ONC grant and cooperative agreements programs are based on authorities provided by the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act [PDF - 123 KB]. The purpose of the HITECH Act, which was enacted as Title IV of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009, is to improve health care delivery and patient care through investment in health information technology (IT). The programs created by the HITECH Act provide technical assistance, support and incentives to health care providers, facilitate coordination among States, and provide workforce training to promote the use of certified electronic health records.

The Recovery Act included an appropriation of more than $19 billion in support of HITECH Act grant programs. As part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), ONC also receives an annual appropriationAs part of the annual appropriations, ONC is currently executing awards per the legislation outlined in the 21 Century Cures Act. This act includes a renewed focus and specific direction for ONC to take action related to transparent reporting associated with certified health information technology (healthIT) interoperability and information blocking.[1] This act also expands the scope and conditions on which certifications to health IT must be granted, including specific conditions around information blocking, application program interfacing and testing[2]. If new funding becomes available for programs or other grant or cooperative agreement programs or activities, ONC will announce the availability of funding in the HHS Grants Forecast and at Grants.gov.


Types of Award Instruments

ONC provides financial assistance to non-Federal entities through two types of legal instruments: grants and cooperative agreements. As defined by the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, the difference between the two is that a cooperative agreement provides for substantial involvement between ONC and the recipient in carrying out the programmatic activities contemplated by the award. For the purposes of ONC cooperative agreements, substantial involvement entails close collaboration to ensure that project aims are being met, provide ongoing programmatic technical assistance and troubleshooting, and facilitate coordination among programs.


[1] Title IV, 21st Century Cures Act, P.L. 114-255

[2] Section 4002(a), 21st Century Cures Act, P.L. 114-255