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The Last Thing I Wanted to Read on a Saturday Morning

February 7, 2009
by aguerra
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From this morning's WSJ regarding the much scaled down version of the stimulus package (down from around $820 billion to $780 billion) moving through the Senate:"Funding to computerize health records is all but gone ..." While that doesn't necessarily mean the final bill will lack healthcare IT funding completely, it is certainly insauspicious.




HOT OFF THE PRESS - Health Data Management

Senate Approves Stimulus Bill

February 10, 2009

The U.S. Senate on Feb. 10 passed its version of the economic stimulus bill on a 61-37 vote.

The legislation now will move to a joint House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences in the chambers' bills. In health care, this includes different funding levels to accelerate adoption of health information technology, as well as different language in the I.T. policy and health information privacy provisions.

The Senate bill would authorize nearly $20 billion to fund Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for the use of health information technology systems. It also includes $3 billion in "jump start" funds to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to rapidly disseminate grants and loans to increase I.T. adoption. These funds primarily would target community health centers, and community hospitals and physician practices, particularly those in rural areas.

The bill also includes funds for telemedicine grants and loans, enhanced I.T. for Indian Health Service facilities, and improved interoperability for first responders.

Joseph Goedert

I saw the quote on the WSJ at but I am unable to see where it was cut on the actual Senate bill.

Do you have another source? Perhaps they got it wrong? There are definitely cuts - in many areas - but I don't see where they cut funding for Health IT and electronic records.

My husband (an Attorney) and I reviewed the text of the Senate bill on On the home page it has a link to the current set of budget cuts. The text of HR-1, p. 648 starts the Health IT section. So...I'm wondering if WSJ got it wrong? Date of the List is Feb 6th.

Also, I read a poster on LinkedIn who spoke about the $$ for rural providers to fund EHRs and I sent him an email asking him where he saw this information.

Senate OKs Economic Stimulus Package With Health IT Funding
Today, the Senate voted 61-37 to approve an $838 billion economic stimulus package. Both chambers of Congress have included about $20 billion for health IT in their respective stimulus bills. However, the House bill favors stricter privacy protections advocated by consumer groups, while the Senate bill endorses more limited safeguards recommended by business interests. New York Times et al.

More Details Released About Health IT Provisions in Stimulus

Further review of the economic stimulus package under consideration in Congress indicates that $2 billion of the $19 billion dedicated to health IT will be made available to the Office of the National Coordinator immediately.  The House approved the bill this afternoon without support from Republicans. Health Data Management et al.


Healthcare IT slated for $19B in proposed stimulus

Congress is expected to approve $19 billion toward health information technology, with $17 billion allotted to incentives and $2 billion to jump-start healthcare IT adoption, according to a Wednesday night draft of the stimulus package.

(from Healthcare IT News)


from a reader:

I see a press release off of Senator Ben Nelson's website shows the allocation as $3B (  - page 14 of the PDF link  I believe it was $5B in the house bill, so maybe that's the thought process behind the snippet in the WSJ journal.


Final stimulus bill provides $19 billion for health IT

The $790 billion economic stimulus package agreed upon by lawmakers yesterday fulfilled some of the items on the hospital lobby's wish list, including an extension of a moratorium on seven Medicaid regulations and health information technology incentives for Medicare providers.
House and Senate members late Wednesday night finally came to an agreement on the comprehensive package, following some additional negotiations over federal school funding that temporarily stalled conference proceedings. Both chambers are expected to vote on the final legislation either Thursday or Friday.
To boost health IT adoption, the agreement provides $19 billion—$17 billion of which would be used for Medicare and Medicaid incentives, with the remaining $2 billion going to health IT grants.
According to a summary of the final agreement, the moratorium on the Medicaid regulations, which hospitals claim would cut their funding, has been extended until June 30. The moratorium had been scheduled to expire on March 31.
Hospital lobbyists were also happy to see that the agreement retained a measure to block a scheduled Medicare payment reduction to teaching hospitals. Read more on healthcare funding in the stimulus bill. — Jennifer Lubell / HITS staff writer

Lawmakers Set To Resolve Health IT Differences in Stimulus Bills
With the Senate's approval of an economic stimulus package yesterday, House and Senate lawmakers now must resolve differences in the two bills' health IT provisions. A coalition of health care stakeholders urged lawmakers to adopt the Senate's higher level of funding, while privacy advocates prefer the House's more stringent patient privacy protections. Government Health IT et al.

Senate Compromise on Stimulus Includes Minor Cuts to Health IT

The compromise reached by the Senate on the economic stimulus bill includes minor cuts to the funding originally proposed for health IT initiatives. For example, the amount of funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT was reduced by $2 billion. The Senate is expected to approve its version of the stimulus bill on Tuesday. Health Data Management et al.