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CNN: Compromise Stimulus Bill Eliminates All $2 Billion of HIT Grants

February 7, 2009 News 2 Comments

CNN reports that the slimmed-down economic stimulus bill being debated by Congress has had the $2 billion line item earmarked for healthcare IT grants removed as part of a cost-cutting compromise.

The original House plan called for $2 billion in HIT grants plus another $18 billion to be managed by CMS in the form of pay-for-performance incentives. Details of the current plan being debated have not been released.

UPDATE: a reader sent over a worksheet provided by his Senator. The House had originally proposed $2 billion for ONCHIT, while the Senate had proposed $5 billion. The proposed compromise calls for a $2 billion reduction from the Senate’s proposal, leaving $3 billion, which is still $1 billion more than the House had suggested. Those aren’t final numbers.

UPDATE 2: Here’s a link to the current version of the bill as of Monday morning (warning: PDF). The HIT grant part is on page 139, but here is the full text:


For an additional amount for ‘‘Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’’,  $3,000,000,000, to carry out title XIII of this Act which shall be available until expended: Provided, That of this amount, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall transfer $20,000,000 to the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce for continued work on advancing health care information enterprise integration through activities such as technical standards analysis and establishment of conformance testing infrastructure so long as such activities are coordinated with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology: Provided further, That funds available under this heading shall become available for obligation only upon submission of an annual operating plan by the Secretary to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate: Provided further, That the Secretary shall provide to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report on the actual obligations, expenditures, and unobligated balances for each major set of activities not later than November 1, 2009 and every 6 months thereafter as long as funding under this heading is available for obligation or expenditure.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. CNN has it wrong
    from Robert Kolodner

    Actually, there was a $4B reduction in health IT – in two different sections of the bill – from the Senate’s higher mark (which may have started as high as $26B total for health IT instead of the House’s $20B).

    Peter is correct. Both CNN and WSJ were incorrect in their summary of the changes in health IT funding made in the Senate amendments on Friday.

    $2B was removed from the Senate APPROPRIATIONS Committee portion of the bill (Senate FINANCE Committee handles the CMS “mandatory” funding), but the reduction was from the original $5B amount in the Senate bill, leaving $3B, compared to the $2B in the House version that was passed.

    ** For the details, see line 433 in the spreadsheet on Senator Ben Nelson’s web site – http://bennelson.senate.gov/news/details.cfm?id=307916 **

    In the “mandatory” funding portion from Senate Finance (the much larger allocation), CMS funds in the Senate bill were reduced $2B down to $19B (compared to $18B in the House bill) by capping the amount that a critical access hospital can receive under the health IT provisions at $1.5 million per hospital.


  2. Can someone explain where the healthcare IT stimulus money is earmarked for (besides hospitals), and who is going to decide how $$ are doled out?

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