The federal government has directed about $3.1 billion in incentive payments since 2009 for improvements in health care information technology across the country, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday.
Sebelius made the announcement ahead of an afternoon speech in Kansas City. Sebelius, the former governor of Kansas, was set to announce that nearly 2,000 hospitals and more than 41,000 doctors have received $3.1 billion in incentive payments for health information technology, according to her office.
The funds are administered through Medicare and Medicaid under the 2009 federal Recovery Act.
Federal statistics show that health IT jobs are a growing employment sector and are expected to increase by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the health department.
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The administration has also created a nationwide network of 62 regional centers to provide technical guidance and resources to help health care providers participate in the programs.
“Health IT is the foundation for a truly 21st century health system where we pay for the right care, not just more care,” Sebelius said in a written statement ahead of her speech.
“Health care professionals and hospitals are taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to begin using smarter, new technology that improves care and creates the jobs we need for an economy built to last.”