Government // Leadership
Commentary
12/10/2009
12:31 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
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Obama Allocating $600M To Health Centers

President Barack Obama allocated almost $600 million to build community health centers and implement electronic medical records, part of the $787 billion stimulus bill. The White House framed the funding as means of adding jobs to the economy, and overhaul the nation's health system.

President Barack Obama allocated almost $600 million to build community health centers and implement electronic medical records, part of the $787 billion stimulus bill. The White House framed the funding as means of adding jobs to the economy, and overhaul the nation's health system.Vice President Joe Biden commented on the allocation:

"One of the first investments we made through the Recovery Act was in supporting our nation's community health centers, and today we build on that progress by funding new construction and improvement projects at more than 80 facilities nationwide," Vice President Joe Biden said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday. "This is what the Recovery Act is all about: providing immediate assistance for hard-hit families, improving our nation's infrastructure and creating new opportunities for stable, well-paid work."

The administration plans to give almost $509 million to repair, rebuild or replace federally designated community health centers. From coast to coast, the centers serve more than 17 million patients -- about 40 percent of whom have no health insurance.

The administration allocated $88 million to upgrade information technology, including EMR implementation. And Obama also asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to begin a three-year trial on how to improve care for Medicare patients at community health centers, anticipating as many as 500 health centers will participate.

The $600 million allocation is designed to help create jobs at 85 community health centers.

"Taken together, these three initiatives -- funding for construction, technology and a medical home demonstration -- they won't just save money over the long term and create more jobs," Obama said in remarks just before signing the memo authorizing the demonstration project.

"They're also going to give more people the peace of mind of knowing that healthcare will be there for them and their families when they need it and ultimately that's what health insurance reform is really about," he said. "That's what the members of Congress here today will be voting on in the coming weeks."



InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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