HHS Recovery Act Accomplishments in the First Year
On February 16, 2010, President Obama marks the first Anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The US Department of Health and Human Services has led several initiatives to help spur new economic growth in direct response to the worst economic crisis since the great depression.
The Recovery Act is a combination of tax relief, financial assistance and infrastructure projects designed to cushion the impact of the downturn and lay a foundation for economic recovery. Public and private forecasters estimate the program is already responsible for about 2 million jobs – putting it on-target to support more than 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010.
Here are a few HHS examples:
Accelerating the Adoption of Health Information Technology
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) announced over $750 million in Recovery Act awards to help health care providers advance the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (IT) and train workers for the health care jobs of the future.
The awards will help make health IT available to over 100,000 hospitals and primary care physicians by 2014 and train thousands of people for careers in health care and information technology. This Recovery Act investment will help grow the emerging health IT industry which is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs ranging from nurses and pharmacy techs to IT technicians and trainers.
These programs at the state and regional level will lay the foundation for a national health information technology infrastructure that will allow for the secure electronic use and exchange of health information through the meaningful use of electronic health records and lead to improved quality, efficiency and safety of health care.
Maintaining Medicaid Services:
The Recovery Act provides a temporary increase in the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for all States and Territories through Dec. 31, 2010. In 2009, Medicaid supported 51 million individuals. This exceeded the number of individuals receiving benefits in 2008, a total of 49 million.
For States to receive ARRA funds, benefits had to be maintained at the July 1, 2008 level. Not only does this funding protect those whose Medicaid eligibility might otherwise have been at risk, it also generates State economic activity and allows States to better cope with fiscal stresses and budget shortfalls.
Reinvesting in Scientific Research:
The Recovery Act has provided a tremendous boost to scientific research. As of Feb. 1, the National Institutes of Health has funded over 13,500 research projects at universities research institutions in all 50 states, supporting innovative projects to address major challenges in biomedical research and accelerate critical breakthroughs and applied research on cutting-edge technologies.
Expanding Head Start/Early Head Start Services
The Administration for Children and Families awarded grants for Head Start in all 50 States, serving children ages 3-5, and Early Head Start, serving children from birth to age 3 and pregnant mothers, to serve over 60,000 additional children.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs promote school readiness to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school.
The programs enhance the cognitive, social and emotional development of low-income children, through the provision of comprehensive health, educational, nutritional, social and other services as well as involving parents in their children’s learning.
Serving More Patients through Federally Qualified Health Centers
Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Recovery Act funds that served nearly 1.6 million new patients in more than 1,100 health centers in 50 States and eight Territories, including more than 920,000 uninsured patients.
Health Centers provide comprehensive, quality and affordable primary and preventive health care services for medically underserved individuals across the country.