Late Wednesday, the House released a bipartisan, bicameral final omnibus spending package to fund the government through the end of the 2018 federal fiscal year. The 1.3 trillion dollar deal includes additional funds for a number of health I&T priorities including precision medicine, the VA’s EHR implementation and broadband deployment to support telehealth. Four billion dollars will go towards combatting the opioid crisis, with funds specifically directed towards improving prescription drug monitoring programs. In contrast to cuts proposed in the President’s budget, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will remain an independent agency and receive a slight boost in funding (the first in years). The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will remain at FY17 funding levels.
As a member of the Coalition for Health Funding, HIMSS has worked closely with our partner organizations to advocate for increased health spending to support vital HHS programs. The House passed the package Thursday afternoon and the Senate is expected to hold a vote prior to the Friday deadline.