Proposed federal budget increases ONC spend to $66M

Spending for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal 2013 budget increases $5 million, bring the total up to more than $66 million. That includes $40 million in "set aside" funds made available through the Public Health Service program evaluation, FierceGovernmentIT reports. Overall, President Obama requested more than $76 billion for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in discretionary budget authority, and $940.9 billion in outlays.

ONC's budget anticipates continued progress with regard to the implementation of electronic health records by providers. Specifically, $7.8 million is proposed to go toward helping healthcare and community organizations share best practices for "encouraging adoption and meaningful use of health IT." The budget also includes a proposed $12 million for standards and interoperability work.

For the Office of Civil Rights, which enforces HIPAA, spending in the proposed budget drops to $39 million from $41 million in part because of improvements to "staff skill sets" and "case management techniques." The budget lists several priorities for OCR in the coming fiscal years, including:

  • Enforcing HIPAA
  • Implementing statutory privacy protections for generic information
  • Promoting adequate privacy protections with regard to health IT use and patient health information

Additionally, a mandated preauthorization for advanced diagnostic imaging is expected to save roughly $820 million over the next 10 years, AuntMinnie.com reports. Shawn Farley, a spokesperson for the American College of Radiology, expressed his organization's concerns to the publication, saying that such requirements aren't likely to lead to savings for Medicare after fees and charges from radiology benefit management firms are included. "Mandatory accreditation of all imaging facilities and use of computerized, appropriateness criteria-based decision-support systems have been shown to be far better options in regard to appropriate imaging utilization," he said.

To learn more:
- here's the full HHS budget (.pdf)
- check out FierceGovernmentIT's breakdown
- read the AuntMinnie.com article

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