Proposal would allocate $28 million for healthcare initiatives, including IT

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Two U.S. Congressmen have filed legislation that would authorize $28 million for health education and training among a wide range of disciplines from 2005 to 2009.

The Allied Health Reinvestment Act (AHRA H.R. 4016) would create grants and other funding sources to expand enrollment in educating prospective healthcare providers in health programs, as well as new technologies and methods, including long-distance care. The awards would be given to establish or expand practices; provide care for underserved populations; provide managed care, information management and quality improvement; and develop cultural competencies among allied health professionals.

The proposal cited statistics from the American Hospital Association that estimates vacancy rates of 18 percent among radiologic technologists and 10 percent among laboratory technologists.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that from 1998 through 2008, some 93,000 positions in clinical laboratory science will need to be filled, as 53,000 new jobs are created and some 40,000 will be vacant. Of 9,000 openings per year, the Bureau estimates academic institutions are producing on 4,990 graduates annually.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Ted Strickland (D-Ohio.).