Health IT: How to Spend $240M

 
 
By Stacy Lawrence  |  Posted 2006-10-10
 
 
 
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger committed $240 million to health care IT in California, and a plan is supposed to be in place before the end of 2006.

At the start of the coming fray, a major philanthropic group has just weighed in on what Californias health IT priorities should be.

Now that Schwarzenegger has committed $240 million to health IT, he needs to figure out how to spend it.

In mid-October, a committee is convening to start doing just that at the eHealth Action Forum. And participants in the event are already starting to weigh in with their recommendations.

Schwarzenegger has asserted that by mid-December a plan will be in place based on the feedback and information received at the eHealth Action Forum.

In July, the governor signed an executive order designating $200 million in investment funds to be distributed by state health, transportation and housing agencies.

An additional $40 million in grant funding is to go to benefit rural health care IT needs. More "public/private financing alternatives" are also slated to be secured.

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The decade-old California HealthCare Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping to improve health care delivery and economics, already released a report in advance of the eHealth Action Forum detailing the initiatives it is hoping will be put in place in the state.

At the top of its agenda are ensuring secure access to health information, enhancing rural health capabilities, training the health care workforce, providing training for health care workers, developing a statewide emergency health IT infrastructure, implementing health IT standards, and creating sustainable public and private funding.

"As a regulator and the largest purchaser of health care, California can have enormous influence on the successful adoption and effective use of health IT to improve the quality and delivery of care," said Sam Karp, vice president of programs for California HealthCare Foundation.

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