Obama Budgets $78 Million For Health IT - InformationWeek
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Obama Budgets $78 Million For Health IT

The president wants to increase funding for the national health IT czar to get doctors and hospitals using e-heath records meaningfully.

President Obama's proposed federal budget for fiscal 2011 released on Monday includes $78 million for programs to help propel health IT adoption and use.

In the proposed fiscal 2011 budget released by the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is requesting funding of $78 million for its Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, an increase of $17 million over the $61 million allocated to the office for fiscal 2010.

In a 114-page "budget brief" released by HHS, the $78 million funding requested for ONC includes "resources [for ONC] to serve as the federal health IT leader and coordinator and to continue implementing recovery act programs," which include the $20-billion plus HITECH programs signed into law last February.

The increase to ONC's budget will enable the health IT czar's office to continue implementing programs that accelerate the adoption of health IT nationwide, and "helping physicians achieve meaningful use of e-health records," the brief said.

The proposed budget also includes $4 million for ONC "to identify consumer perspectives on consumer e-health tools and the development of patient decision aids; anticipate and mitigate unintended consequences of the electronic exchange of health information; and support state governments as they implement their HITECH grants," according the HHS brief.

In addition to ONC funding requests, HHS's fiscal 2011 budget proposes $32 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to advance the use of health IT to enhance patient safety; $1.6 million in the Office of Civil Rights for "regional privacy advisors"; and $1 million for the Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation "for independent evaluation of [electronic health record] adoption and economic factors influencing health IT," said the brief.

Overall, Obama's federal IT budget proposals total $79.4 billion, up 1.2% from fiscal 2010.

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