House committee approves funds to fight nursing workforce shortage, hospital-acquired infections

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The House Appropriations Committee has approved a spending budget for fiscal year 2010 for the Department of Health and Human Services. Funding has been allocated to relieve the healthcare workforce shortage and reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

The Appropriations Committee has included an additional $137 million over last year in nurse education and training funds. Of the $530 million earmarked for reducing the healthcare workforce shortage, $92 million is slated for educating and training nurses in all areas of healthcare. The committee also set aside $204 million—$34 million more than last year—for reducing HAIs. That includes $54 million for "enhanced state inspections in nursing homes and other medical facilities where HAIs are rising."

The bulk of HHS funding has been approved for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which received $31.3 billion for biomedical research. Nutrition, transportation and other supportive services for elderly Americans received $1.5 billion. All told, the spending bill, which encompasses labor, health and education, topped $160.6 billion.