By DAVID WOLFE-COLLINS ReporterNews24.comAUSTRALIA and the US government have ‘no plan to move” the $2.6bn in healthcare hardware project funding that was awarded to US-based healthcare equipment maker US Health Services Corp to a US entity, a senior government official has said.
The announcement comes just hours after a federal court judge ruled that the funding for the equipment, which includes medical scanners, equipment for treating burns and other medical procedures, was unconstitutional.
In a court filing, US Health Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said it was a matter of “national security” and the department was committed to moving the funds to a state-owned entity.”
The Department of Health and [the Department of Justice] have no plans to remove funding for this equipment from the HHS Healthcare Infrastructure Fund,” Ms Burwell wrote.”
I cannot comment on specific matters, but will say that the Department of Homeland Security has the responsibility to protect our country’s national security.
“She added that the US “will continue to fund the equipment and will work with our federal partners to continue to provide high quality, high-quality equipment for US citizens.
“A source close to the matter told Reuters the funding had been removed from the Health Infrastructure Fund but not removed from US Defence Secretary James Mattis’ Defence Infrastructure Fund.
The US Government was the first to sign off on the healthcare equipment grant for $2bn in October and had until November to move the funding.
It was the latest in a string of decisions in recent weeks to cut funding to healthcare equipment companies, including a move by the Trump administration to reduce $5.5bn for medical equipment manufacturers by more than $1.5 billion.
Federal and state officials have also been battling over the future of equipment that has been used in more than 10 million operations.
It is not known if the $5bn of funding has been spent.
Mr Mattis, in a statement, said it would be “inevitable” that the equipment will be sold to a private buyer in the future.”
While we have no plan to remove the equipment funding from the Department’s Healthcare Infrastructure fund, we are working with our Federal, State, and local partners to provide the best and most efficient use of the funds that are already in place,” Mr Mattis said.
Mr Burwell added that while the Department had not made a final decision on the future use of Healthcare Infrastructure, “it is unlikely that the funds would be used for a private sale”.