Politics & Government

Biden, Sebelius to unveil funds for electronic medical records

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday will formally announce the application process for $1.2 billion in grants to help expand the nation's electronic medical records system.

The funding, included in the $787 billion economic stimulus, comes as the vice president campaigns for a legislative health insurance overhaul at a roundtable discussion at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago. He and Sebelius will be joined by David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health information technology.

It's one of two administration events this week to highlight the efficiencies of electronic medical records, something concrete Democrats can point to as they promote their call for broader changes to the nation's health care system. A second event is scheduled for Friday in Ohio.

The grants include $598 million to establish 70 Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers to help hospitals and clinicians, and $564 million to help states improve information sharing.

Biden, in a statement, said by expanding the use of electronic health records, "We are making health care safer; we're making it more efficient; we're making you healthier; and we're saving money along the way." Biden also will attend a fundraiser to stump for Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a freshman Democrat from Illinois.


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