Posts Tagged ‘Public health infrastructure’

HHS Provides Funding to Improve Rural Healthcare IT

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius awarded as much as $137 million, to the states funded in part by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the goal of strengthening the public health infrastructure and provide jobs in core areas of public health.  Awarded in almost all 50 states, the grants enhance state, tribal, local and territorial efforts to provide tobacco cessation services, reinforce public health laboratory and immunization services, prevent healthcare-associated infections, and provide comprehensive substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.  “More than ever, it is important to help states fight disease and protect public health,” Sebelius said.  “These awards are an important investment and will enable states and communities to help Americans quit smoking, get immunized and prevent disease and illness before they start.”

The grants will fund vital state and local public health programs supported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The majority of grant dollars come from the Prevention and Public Health Fund section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  SAMHSA dollars add to this investment.  “CDC supports state and local public health departments which are key to keeping America safe from threats to health, safety, and security from this country or anywhere in the world,” said CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.  “With these funds, CDC is strengthening our ability to prevent and combat diseases and keep Americans safe against expensive and dangerous health threats.”

“These funds will allow us to bolster public health services to communities and build on successful programs that have helped people lead healthier lives.  Today’s investments will help us prevent future healthcare costs from problems such as tobacco-related illness and substance abuse,” said Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA administrator.

According to Rene Letourneau, Managing Editor of Healthcare Finance News, “The grants include $1 million to further enhance the nations’ public health laboratories by hiring and preparing scientists for careers in public health laboratories, providing training for scientists and supporting public health initiatives related to infectious disease research; nearly $5 million to help states and territories enhance and expand the national network of tobacco cessation toll-free quit lines to increase the number of tobacco users who quit; More than $42 million to support improvements to the Immunization Information Systems (registries) and other immunization information technologies; development of systems to improve billing for immunization services; planning and implementation of adult immunization programs; enhancement of vaccination capacity located in schools; and evaluations of the impact on disease of recent vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents; and $2.6 million to the Emerging Infections Programs around the country to continue improvement in disease monitoring, professional development and training, information technology development and laboratory capacity,” to name a few.

In a related initiative, President Obama recently announced that new healthcare IT jobs are part of his Jobs Initiatives for Rural America at the recent White House Rural Economic Forum held in Peosta, IA.  The plan includes making HHS loans available to assist more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit supplementary staff, and help rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement healthcare IT.

“These are tough times for a lot of Americans – including those who live in our rural communities,” Obama said.  “That’s why my administration has put a special focus on helping rural families find jobs, grow their businesses, and regain a sense of economic security.”

“Creating jobs and economic opportunity in rural America is a priority for the Obama Administration, and the White House Rural Council has used an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to leverage resources across the federal government to achieve that goal,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By bringing new capital, job training, and additional investments to our rural communities, we are working to ensure the people who live in these towns have a better, brighter future.”

“The Small Business Administration (SBA) is pleased to announce that we will be doubling the capital going to rural businesses through the Small Business Investment Company program, with no cost to taxpayers,” said Administrator Karen Mills.  “Small businesses of all kinds are thriving in rural areas where they are creating jobs of the future and helping ensure the economic stability of the middle class.  Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses.  The Obama Administration and SBA have been committed to supporting rural businesses, which drive economic growth across the country and will continue to do so through these programs.”

“Creating jobs and economic opportunity in rural America is a priority for the Obama Administration, and the White House Rural Council has used an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to leverage resources across the federal government to achieve that goal,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By bringing new capital, job training, and additional investments to our rural communities, we are working to ensure the people who live in these towns have a better, brighter future.”

“The Small Business Administration (SBA) is pleased to announce that we will be doubling the capital going to rural businesses through the Small Business Investment Company program, with no cost to taxpayers,” said Administrator Karen Mills. “Small businesses of all kinds are thriving in rural areas where they are creating jobs of the future and helping ensure the economic stability of the middle class.  Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses. The Obama Administration and SBA have been committed to supporting rural businesses, which drive economic growth across the country and will continue to do so through these programs.”