Brookings Health System, United Retirement Center and Avera Receive Rural Health IT Grant

  • October 20, 2011

Brookings Health System, Avera Medical Group Brookings, and United Retirement Center Avera are one of 40 rural health networks across the nation that will receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant provides $300,000 for next three years, totaling $900,000.

The grant funding, over $11.9 million total nationwide, is a pilot program developed by the President's Rural Health Initiative and the HHS Secretary's Rural Health Information Technology Taskforce. The money is to be used to purchase equipment, install broadband networks and provide training for staff.

The three Brookings organizations will use the awarded funding to establish a community health information network. The new network will allow the three entities to quickly and accurately share patient information via Electronic Health Records (EHR), providing a better continuity of care for patients.

EHR systems digitize patients' records, creating a complete set of patient information on computers and directly at care providers' fingertips. Computerized physician order entry, one component of EHR, increases patient safety by listing instructions for physicians to follow when they prescribe drugs to patients.

The grant also helps the Brookings providers qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

About Brookings Health System
Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed Brookview Manor nursing home, and Brookhaven Estates apartments. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock medical-nursing care for patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at

About Avera Medical Group Brookings
Avera Medical Group Brookings is a multi-specialty medical group with 27 board certified physicians and providers working with patients to offer individualized healthcare. Avera Medical Group Brookings is part of the Avera Health system providing high-quality care close to home at more than 300  locations in some 100 communities. For more information, please visit

About United Retirement Center Avera
The United Retirement Center Avera was built in 1959 with funds received from a Hill Burton Grant and donations from thousands of individuals living in and around Brookings County. In 1989, an additional 21 beds were built. Today the total number of licensed nursing home beds to 79. In 1991, congregate living apartments known as Park Place Apartments opened to serve the independent resident. With the addition of these apartments, URC Avera expanded its services to the Brookings Community. In 1999, Park Place Assisted Living opened its doors to 36 individuals. Again the United Retirement Center Avera set the standard of care in the Brookings Community.