The White House today announced nearly $1 billion in Recovery Act funds designed to help healthcare providers advance health information technology (IT) and train thousands of workers for future healthcare jobs.
The awards will help make health IT available to more than 100,000 hospitals and primary care physicians by 2014 and train thousands of people for careers in healthcare an information technology, according to a joint statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
The funds include $750 million in grant awards that Sebelius said are part of a federal initiative to build capacity to enable widespread use of health IT. She said the assistance would facilitate healthcare providers' efforts to adopt and use electronic health records in a meaningful way to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare.
The $750 million includes:
"Health information technology can make our healthcare system more efficient and improve the quality of care we all receive," Sebelius said in a statement. "These grant awards, the first of their kind, will help develop our electronic infrastructure and give doctors and other healthcare providers the support they need as they adopt this powerful technology."
Labor Secretary Solis said that $225 million in Department of Labor grant awards will be used to train 15,000 people in job skills needed to access careers in healthcare, IT, and other high-growth fields. Through existing partnerships with local employers, the recipients of the grants have identified 100,000 job openings for skilled workers that likely will become available in the next two years in areas like nursing, pharmacy technology, and information technology.
The grants will fund 55 separate training programs in 30 states to help train people for health jobs.