HHS, Labor funding bill moves to White House after Senate passage

The Senate last night passed an appropriations bill that gives the Health and Human Services Department $1.6 billion for terrorism preparedness and the Labor Department $29.8 million for IT systems.

The bill, HR 3010, had been stalled since November, when the House failed to pass a conference report that attempted to hammer out differences between the separate Senate and House versions.

Conferees altered the bill after the Thanksgiving holiday and sent it back to the House on Dec. 13, which passed the bill the next day.

The bill now needs President Bush's signature.

Under the bill, HHS will receive more than $1 billion for terrorism preparation, including $735 million for state and local capacity and $79.4 million for biosurveillance.

HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will get $50 million for health IT demonstrations, while the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will get $42.8 million (plus another $18.9 million) for public health programs.

The bill provides HHS' Medicare claims processing improvement project with $24.2 million and the Social Security Administration with $9.2 billion in program funding, including an automated data processing and electronic disability processing center.

Meanwhile, Labor will receive $6.2 million for its Labor Executive Accountability Program, a new project that will automate and analyze the department's accounting system.

The agency is also allotted $13.3 million for an automated data processing system and telecommunications.

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