Bush proposal seeks $169 million for healthcare IT spending

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President Bush is proposing a 50% hike in information technology spending at the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal year 2007. Long-term care providers figure to ride the coattails mightily from any increased funding in the IT area.

Bush is asking Congress in his budget proposal for $169 million in HHS IT spending for the next fiscal year. That compares to $111 million in the current year – an increase of 52%. One of Bush's goals is to see the creation of an interoperable health information network and electronic health records by 2014.

Most of the IT budget — $116 million – would be allocated for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. That would include money to add eight positions to the staff of 30. This office currently has a budget of $61 million.

The FY 2007 HHS budget proposal also calls for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to invest $50 million toward pushing for health IT advances that improve patient safety and quality of care.