Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stimulus Draft Calls for $20 Billion Jumpstart To Computerize Health Records

The American Recovery and Reinvestment draft plan circulating in the US House of Representatives includes the following:

  • "Health Information Technology: $20 billion to jumpstart efforts to computerize health records to cut costs and reduce medical errors.
  • Prevention and Wellness Fund: $3 billion to fight preventable chronic diseases, the leading cause of deaths in the U.S., and infectious diseases. Preventing disease rather than treating illnesses is the most effective way to reduce healthcare costs. This includes hospital infection prevention, Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grants for state and local public health departments, immunization programs, and evidence-based disease prevention.
  • Healthcare Effectiveness Research: $1.1 billion for Healthcare Research and Quality programs to compare the effectiveness of different medical treatments funded by Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP. Finding out what works best and educating patients and doctors will improve treatment and save taxpayers money.
  • Community Health Centers: $1.5 billion, including $500 million to increase the number of uninsured Americans who receive quality healthcare and $1 billion to renovate clinics and make health information technology improvements. More than 400 applications submitted earlier this year for new or expanded CHC sites remain unfunded.
  • Training Primary Care Providers: $600 million to address shortages and prepare our country for universal healthcare by training primary healthcare providers including doctors, dentists, and nurses as well as helping pay medical school expenses for students who agree to practice in underserved communities through the National Health Service Corps.
  • Indian Health Service Facilities: $550 million to modernize aging hospitals and health clinics and make healthcare technology upgrades to improve healthcare for underserved rural populations."

Update from HISTalk: "The discussion draft ...contains only $2 billion in new funds specific earmarked for healthcare IT, with that entire amount to be managed by the Office of the National Coordinator. The remainder of the $20 billion figure that was quoted for healthcare IT would be distributed by CMS as pay-for-performance incentives that have not yet been defined."

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