Bill to finance National Coordinator for Health Information Technology moves to full House committee

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A House Appropriations Committee panel last week approved a bill recommending $142.5 billion in discretionary spending for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education programs in fiscal year 2006. The full committee is soon expected to review the bill.

The appropriations include:
  • $75 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is marked in the bill to assist in the development and adoption of standards-based, interoperable electronic health records system, which is $58 million more than 2005 but slightly less than what the Bush administration asked for.

  • $500 million for hospital bioterrorism preparedness which is somewhat lower than 2005.

  • Nearly $150 million for nursing programs have been allotted, about the same level as this year.

  • $60.13 million has been targeted for rural health programs, which is $84.58 million less than 2005. And this amount includes a $28.5 million drop in monies devoted for rural health outreach grants.