Monday, July 24, 2017

HSS cuts may eliminate ONC's offices of Privacy and interoperability

PARCA eNews – July 18, 2017 – The ONC may need to eliminate the Office of Care Transformation, Office of Chief Privacy Officer, and Office of Clinical Quality if the administration’s proposed budget for HHS is passed, which could slash the ONC’s funding from $60 million to $38 million, according to reports in HIPAA Journal and Politico.

While the House Appropriations Committee sidestepped the administration’s original overall HHS funding cuts, it kept the 37 percent cut to ONC and ONC National Coordinator Don Rucker, M.D. told HIPAA Journal that the office (of Chief Privacy Officer) will be closed out in fiscal year 2018.

In addition the ONC would have to close its Health IT Adoption program that provides support and troubleshooting help for EHR issues that arise during implementation by end of 2018. Also, the office that develops the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and monitors interoperability progress is also marked for elimination.

Jeff Smith, vice president at the American Medical Informatics Association, told Politico: “This budget would make it difficult to improve the technical foundations of interoperability, so it’s likely that standards needed to achieve interoperability — among traditional and emerging health IT — would be built on faulty foundations.”

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