House passes bill to bolster health IT expertise in work force
The House of Representatives has passed the 10,000 Trained by 2010 Act (HR 1467) which calls for bolstering the work force in this country to foster the development and implementation of health IT. Congressmen David Wu (D-Ore.) was the lead sponsor of the bill, with support from colleagues Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), and Ralph Hall (R-Texas).

The bill would authorize the National Science Foundation to award grants to institutions of higher education that would develop and offer educational and training programs for healthcare workers and professionals in applied health and medical informatics. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) have been big proponents of this legislation, and have raised hopes that the Senate and the president will soon enact this legislation “so that our nation can move toward the development of an educated work force that will be poised to use technology effectively, to continue to evolve the delivery of care to be safe, timely, effective, and equitable,” according to a released statement from the organization.

"We are one step closer to fulfilling the promise of transforming healthcare with the passage of HR 1467," said Linda Kloss, MA, RHIA, AHIMA CEO. “This bill will not only provide the necessary funding to facilitate the development of healthcare informatics academic programs across the nation, but it will promote federal support of health IT and electronic health record systems adoption necessary to deliver patient-centered care."

Paul Tang, MD, AMIA board chairman, said of the bill, "We commend the House for its leadership in passing HR 1467 to create an educated healthcare work force that will be highly skilled in the use of electronic health record systems.”

"This action brings the country closer to the goal of providing all patients with the safe, high- quality, cost-effective care they deserve," Tang added.