Healthcare Reform

HIMSS & Data Have End of the Year Big Win on the Hill

Public health professional reads tablet

The last session week of 2019 has seen a flurry of activity as Congress approved a $1.4 trillion spending package that funds the federal government through September 2020, and on Friday December 20 President Trump signed the package into law.

Included in the spending package is $50 million in new funding for the first year of the Data: Elemental to Health Campaign, a multi-year effort to support the modernization of public health data systems, surveillance, and analytics at CDC, state, local, and tribal health departments.

The funding is the first step in securing $1 billion in federal investment over the next decade through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to transform today’s public health data systems into a state-of-the-art, secure and fully interoperable system.

This new funding was the central ask of a broad coalition of organizations led by HIMSS and our partners from the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS).

Systems currently in use by public health agencies at all levels of government rely on obsolete data collection methods, leading to delayed detection and response to public health threats of all types, including measles, influenza, opioid overdoses, Zika and the recent respiratory illness outbreak associated with e-cigarette use.

HIMSS strongly advocated for the inclusion of $50 million in new funding, and looks forward to continuing the work with our campaign partners and the CDC to modernize the public health surveillance enterprise through upgrading IT systems and recruiting and retaining skilled data scientists.

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