California Hospitals Gain Access to $27M in Federal Stimulus Funds
On Friday, HHS announced the release of $268 million from the economic stimulus package for hospitals that treat a disproportionate number of low-income or uninsured patients, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The stimulus bill increases funding for so-called DSH facilities from $11.06 billion to $11.33 billion in 2009. To receive the additional funds, states must show that they have spent all of their existing DSH funds (CQ HealthBeat, 3/20).
California hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income or uninsured patients have gained access to $26.9 million (Sacramento Business Journal, 3/20).
In related news, the stimulus bill included $19 billion to encourage physicians to adopt electronic health record systems, but many questions about implementing the systems remain unanswered, the AP/Denver Post reports.
According to the AP/Post, "important details are missing from the legislation," and "important officials" who would oversee implementation of EHRs have not yet been confirmed, including the HHS secretary.
Preliminary technology standards are due at the end of the year, which "doesn't give doctors, hospitals or technology companies much time to get systems up and running by 2011," the AP/Post reports.
The Obama administration and congressional lawmakers say they are aware of the challenges physicians face in adopting the technology. Lawmakers say that the stimulus bill calls for new standards to drive development of interoperable systems and requires physicians and hospitals to show they will put the systems to "meaningful use" (Werner, AP/Denver Post, 3/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.