Browsing: HHS

White House names former HHS exec federal CTO


President Obama last week appointed Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer Todd Park to oversee technology innovation across the federal government. Park will fill the position of federal CTO, left vacant by Aneesh Chopra in January. In his new role, Park will work with federal Deputy CTO for Telecommunications Tom Power to ensure the adoption of innovative technologies that support job creation, access to affordable healthcare, open government and other administration priorities. “Todd Park has demonstrated a remarkable talent for enlisting innovative technologies to modernize government, reduce waste, and make government information more accessible to the public,” Obama said…

HIT program gets $20 million boost


The Health and Human Services Department has awarded an additional $20 million to aid critical access and rural hospitals in adopting electronic health records. The added boost will provide technical support to about 1,655 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, according to a Sept. 10 news release. The money will flow through regional extension centers (REC) that were created to help health care providers adopt electronic health records and achieve meaningful use. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology awarded more than $640 million earlier this year to 60 existing…

HHS' Sebelius talks health care


The Health and Human Services Department will rely on the expertise of current federal employees to implement hundreds of changes mandated in the recently-signed health care law, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said April 6. “We’re not starting with the assumption that we have to build a new bureaucracy … One of the ways we’ll save money is by depending heavily on people and systems that are already in place.  Our department already has great talent, resources, and knowledge of the health care system,” she said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C Sebelius’ speech was billed as a look…

Senate confirms surgeon general


Senators unanimously confirmed Dr. Regina Benjamin Thursday as the next U.S. surgeon general. Benjamin is the founder of the Bayou Le Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala., a fishing village, and has served as its chief executive officer since its founding in 1990. Benjamin has rebuilt the clinic several times, including after Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Atlanta neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was rumored earlier this year to be Obama’s first choice for surgeon general, but Gupta pulled his name from consideration, citing his desire to spend more time on…

Obama names his pick for surgeon general


Dr. Regina Benjamin, a family practice doctor who works with the rural poor in Alabama, is President Barack Obama’s choice for surgeon general, Obama said Monday. Obama praised Benjamin’s commitment to health care and to providing access to care for those who can’t afford insurance. She is the founder of the Bayou Le Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala., a fishing village, and has served as its chief exective officer since is founding in 1990. Benjamin has rebuilt the clinic several times, including after it sustain heavy damages by Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Katrina in…

Congress to approve $7.7 billion for flu


House and Senate conferees reached an agreement late Thursday on the $105.9 billion war supplemental bill, which includes $7.7 billion to respond to pandemic flu. The Centers for Disease Control and the Health and Human Services Department will receive $1.5 billion in additional fiscal year 2009 appropriations, as well as $5.8 billion for a contingency fund for expanding detection efforts, increasing federal drug stockpiles and developing and administering vaccines. President Barack Obama had requested $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2009 funds and $2 billion in contingency funds. In addition, the supplemental provides $350 million to help state and local governments…

Obama names new CDC director


Dr. Thomas Frieden, commissioner of the New York City Health Department, will be the new director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President Barack Obama announced Friday. He will replace acting CDC Director Dr. Rich Besser, who will return to his role leading the CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response. Please visit Federal Times for updates on this story.

Senate confirms Sebelius for HHS


The Senate voted 65-31 Tuesday evening to confirm Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services, filling the last vacant Cabinet post in Barack Obama’s administration. Sebelius will take over the agency as it responds to worldwide panic over swine flu, which has sickened more than 60 in the United States and possibly more than 200 in Mexico. None of HHS’ 18 agencies has political leadership in place, with career employees and temporary leaders steering the agencies. Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, faced considerable opposition from Republicans who were displeased with her pro-choice views. They also criticized her…

More nominations head to Senate floor


The Senate could vote this week on more of President Barack Obama’s nominees. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee approved two nominations by voice vote Monday: W. Craig Fugate for Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator and John Morton for assistant secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Senate may vote this week on their nominations, which aren’t controversial. No vote has been scheduled. Meanwhile, senators are debating the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for secretary of Health and Human Services Tuesday, with a vote expected later in the day. The vote on her nomination has been delayed…

WH defends swine flu response


Not having a secretary of Health and Human Services isn’t hurting the federal response to the swine flu outbreak, said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs Monday. “Our response is in no way hindered or hampered by not having a permanent secretary at HHS right now,” Gibbs said after a reporter asked how the agency is faring. Gibbs said he hopes the Senate will act quickly to confirm Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the nominee for HHS secretary. The Senate has scheduled debate on her nomination for Tuesday with a vote possibly later in the day. Gibbs said interagency coordination for…

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