Bush Plans To Restore $50 Million in Funding for Pilot Programs on Electronic Health Records
President Bush on Thursday sent a letter to Congress saying he planned to restore $50 million in funding to finance projects to spur the adoption of computerized health records, the New York Times reports. The funding was earmarked in the 2005 budget for the office of National Health Information Technology Coordinator David Brailer. However, Congress removed the $50 million in November 2004 in its omnibus appropriations bill in an effort to reduce the federal budget deficit.
The Bush administration says it now plans to transfer $50 million from another part of the budget for HHS, a move that will require congressional approval. Administration officials said "approval should not be a problem given the White House insistence," the Times reports.
The $50 million will fund the development of technology standards for sharing health information, pilot programs that demonstrate the advantages of implementing EMRs and studies of policies designed to encourage investment in the technology (Lohr, New York Times, 1/31).