HHS left the industry hanging when it declined to announce the winners of three contracts aimed at removing major obstacles to creating a national healthcare information-technology system.
Names of the contract winners, presumably revealed by a Sept. 30 deadline, were not released by Friday, a deadline that had been announced earlier by David Brailer, whose Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued four formal requests for proposals in June. Friday was a key date in the contracting process because it marked the end of the federal government's fiscal 2005. Appropriations to fund three of the contracts were included in the 2005 budget, according to the coordinator's office. "The deadlines have been met, but we're not announcing them today," Mari Johnson, a Brailer aide, said Friday.
One of the three contracts calls for an organization to develop and implement a plan to harmonize the dozens of healthcare IT standards. Another would fund creation of a process to certify clinical information systems. The third would entrust an organization with finding ways to reconcile federal and state privacy rules on electronic information, the coordinator's office said.
Brailer's office would not disclose the number of bidders on the contracts or their identities. Stacy Leistner, director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based American National Standards Institute, confirmed his organization was a bidder on the standards harmonization contract. A bidder on the IT certification contract is the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, according to its chairman, Mark Leavitt.