Correction: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, headed by David Brailer, will be funded through the HHS secretary's budget in 2005. The appropriations bill allocated $4 million to the secretary for the Foundation for eHealth Initiative, a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization. The $4 million was not awarded to Brailer's office. -- December 9, 2:30 p.m. EST
A $50 million appropriation to fund information technology grants through the new Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology was scrapped as part of a $3 billion cut to HHS' budget in order to meet a $388 billion spending target for the omnibus appropriations bill that passed Congress this past weekend. The $50 million, included in President Bush's budget request, was to fund projects furthering IT implementation, including establishing interoperability standards, said Thomas Leary, director of federal affairs at the Health Information and Management Systems Society.
The bill that passed Congress included $54 million for health IT projects -- $50 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and $4 million for operations at the 7-month-old national IT office headed by David Brailer. The IT office is likely to receive additional funding from HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's budget, Leary said. At deadline, Brailer's office could not be reached for comment. by Joseph Conn