The FY2021 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on July 15 asks the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), among other government agencies, to cooperate on a report to Congress that explains limitations to integrating and modernizing Federal health and human services-related IT.

According to the legislation, the Appropriations Committee “urges” the CIO and CTO at HHS to take on that assignment by establishing an interagency task force. Other members of the task force would include the White House CTO, the Department of Agriculture, the HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the 18F organization at the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The task force would “examine existing IT infrastructure in Federal health [and] human service programs nationwide and identify the limitations to successfully integrating and modernizing health and human services IT, and the network security necessary for health and human services IT interoperability,” the bill says.

The task force would have 180 days to deliver to Congress a report on its progress, recommendations for further congressional action, and estimated costs for agencies “to make progress on interoperability initiatives.”

“The Committee recognizes a growing need for the integration and modernization of Federal IT systems and notes that increased investment in IT would greatly improve employee and recipient interactions with Federal health and human service programs while enhancing program efficiency, integrity, analytic capability, and network security,” it said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.