RealNews

HHS budget focuses on bioterror, e-health efforts

President Bush has used the bully pulpit to advocate for the adoption of health IT, such as electronic health records, and in fiscal 2006 he has requested $125 million to back up that talk. The Health and Human Services Department would receive $5.3 billion in IT spending next year, nearly 2 percent more than the $5.2 billion for this year. Total HHS discretionary spending edged down 1 percent to $67.2 billion. Most of the health IT funds would cover grants for projects by regional health organizations and for health information networks. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT would receive $75 million for planning activities to support electronic prescriptions and the development of standards for electronic patient records. In the budget proposal sent to Congress, the White House also requested $50 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to make grants for projects that demonstrate how to use IT to improve patient safety. Full Story

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