Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 - 7:00
Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 07:21
Intriguing articles, reports and commentary about the Recovery Act.
“The concept of paying doctors for actually using [Electronic Medical Records] is a good one, but measuring and regulating that is much harder,” writes John Lynn at the EMR and HIPAA blog. Lynn refers, in part, to an email he received from a vendor pointing out some of the technical hang-ups in carrying out the HITECH Act, the part of the Recovery Act that provides incentives for electronic medical record use.
The stimulus has been a tale of two cities in the San Francisco Bay area, according to this piece from KTVU. Rio Vista, a town of 8,000 people just northeast of San Francisco, has received no stimulus dollars, though city staff has been sliced from 60 to 38 in recent years and city offices are closed Friday. Meanwhile, San Francisco itself, city and county, has received nearly $1 billion—approximately $1,200 per person. The article raises the interesting question of which city can really make better use of the cash—large and densely packed San Francisco or little old Rio Vista?
Are stimulus dollars for highways really creating fewer jobs than had been anticipated? That’s the conclusion from Chris Adams of the McClatchy Newspapers, based on analysis of federal data. The challenge is more pressing in some states than others. As Adams points out, California has started fewer than 60% of its highway projects more than a year and a half after the stimulus enactment—and the state continues to face unemployment rates over 12%.
Wisconsin has suspended work on its high speed rail between Madison and Milwaukee as current Governor Jim Doyle has decided to leave the final decision on whether to move forward to new governor-elect Scott Walker. While campaigning, Walker vowed to kill the projects and says he sees no reason to change that view. Doyle has suggested that cancelling the projects would cost the state $100 million and 400 jobs. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has notified the state that the federal government will take the funds back if Wisconsin doesn’t fulfill the projects. Already, New York has requested the money if Wisconsin doesn’t use it. So has Illinois.
The Recovery Act set aside more than $90 billion to be spent on clean energy projects and programs, a big chunk of which has been doled out through competitive grants from the Department of Energy. Dana Hull of the Silicon Valley Mercury News delivers this look at the impact that money has had on the clean tech industry. One example: plugging gaps left by falling venture capital investment. While the DOE has certainly made the process competitive--80 percent of grant requests were rejected--critics say the process has been too slow, especially by Silicon Valley standards. But if it is successful, it could have long lasting consequences; one person quoted in the piece likens this federal investment to the space program.