SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Schwarzenegger on Friday announced that California will receive more than $100 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) awards. These funds will assist health care providers to expand the secure use and exchange of health information technology (IT) and train workers for thousands of health care jobs across the state.
“Training Californians for health care jobs and the efficient and secure exchange of private medical information are fundamental to the future of health care delivery in our state,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The health IT grants will help California build a world class system to promote and expand the way information is shared, protecting medical privacy, promoting efficiency and will ultimately help reduce health care costs.”
The grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) will allow California to build a foundation to exchange health information across the State that provides safe, secure patient and provider access to health information, while providing job training to thousands of Californians statewide.
“Securing these valuable funds for Californians took collaboration at the federal, state and local levels, including government and health care organizations,” said Senior Advisor to the Governor and Director of the California Recovery Task Force Herb K. Schultz. “The Task Force is working around the clock to make certain that these funds are put to work quickly and efficiently to jumpstart our economy and create jobs in the health care sector.”
A robust system to exchange health information will improve patient care in several areas including: more informed decisions by making certain patient medical history is available at the point of diagnosis and care; enabling early diagnosis with the potential to improve outcomes and reduce costs; and, increasing efficiencies related to administrative tasks.
More information about the State’s grant application and the selection process for the Health Information Exchange Governance Entity is available at http://www.ehealth.ca.gov/
Regional Extension Centers:
Regional extension centers will help eligible providers and hospitals make meaningful use of electronic health records by providing hands-on technical assistance and support as they buy, install and begin to use such records.
Job Training for Health Care:
Eight organizations within California also received more than $30 million in grants to train workers for jobs in health care and other related industries. The competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration will address current and forecasted workforce shortages. They will also provide future workers with the training necessary to pursue career paths, enhancing opportunities in high growth or emerging industries.
“We are very excited about this important funding for the green tech, biotech, nursing and allied health professions,” said Victoria Bradshaw, Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. “These are the industries in highest demand in California and leveraging current efforts by the Governor’s Green Collar Jobs Council, and the Nurse Education and Allied Health Initiatives, will quickly lead to important jobs for California.”
Previously, as part of his commitment to creating jobs in California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established a $32 million Allied Health Initiative which is a three year, public-private partnership aimed at reducing California’s critical health care worker shortage by adding thousands of additional professionals to California’s hospitals and health care facilities over the next three years. The Governor’s Nurse Education Initiative established in 2005, started with a $90 million, five-year public-private partnership, which has so far seen an increase of more than 54 percent in the number of Registered Nurse (RN) graduates. In 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger committed an additional $60 million five-year funding for the public-private partnership to maintain the important expansions realized in California’s nursing education programs.
California Health Information Exchange: Award Amount:
California Health and Human Services Agency $38,752,536
Regional Extension Centers:
Northern California Regional Extension Center $17,286,081
Southern California Regional Extension Center $13,961,339
Job Training Awards for Healthcare:
Kern Community College District (KCCD) $2,768,572
Los Rios Community College District $4,988,561
Mt. San Antonio Community College District $2,239,714
San Diego State University Research Foundation $4,953,575
San Jose State University Research Foundation $5,000,000
San Bernardino Community College District $4,260,863
Youth Policy Institute $3,623,473
Spanish Speaking Unity Council $3,559,139
Governor Schwarzenegger created the California Recovery Task Force to track the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding coming into the state; work with President Barack Obama’s administration; help cities, counties, non-profits, and others access the available funding; ensure that the funding funneled through the state is spent efficiently and effectively; and maintain a Web site that is frequently and thoroughly updated for Californians to be able to track the stimulus dollars.