Appropriations bill funds HHS security

The Consolidated Appropriations Act now awaiting the president's signature includes $15 million for the Health and Human Services Department's IT Security and Innovation Fund.

The omnibus spending bill funds most federal agencies for the 2004 fiscal year, which began in October. It was approved last year by the House and passed in the Senate yesterday.

The $15 million IT funding is sandwiched in the secretary's general departmental management budget, between $50 million for AIDS prevention and treatment and $5 million for maternal and child health clinics in Afghanistan. The amount falls short of the $18.4 million requested.

HHS secretary Tommy G. Thompson proposed the IT Security and Innovation Fund in 2001 to improve the department's highly decentralized, heterogeneous and vulnerable IT systems. The secretary wanted $30 million to implement a departmentwide enterprise infrastructure management approach.

Congress approved $22 million for the fund in fiscal 2002 and $20 million for last year.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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