President Biden released the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget on March 9, 2023, officially kicking off the annual appropriations process in Congress. President Biden’s budget included $103.6 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), an increase of $37 million above the FY 2023 enacted level.
As the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate draft their spending bills, HIMSS urged the leaders of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) subcommittees full funding for ONC in the president’s proposed FY24 budget. HIMSS, in a letter, explained that this funding boost would provide the agency with the necessary resources they have long needed to serve as the key partner to public and private sector stakeholders to advance the health information and technology ecosystem.
Following up on the letter in April, HIMSS also led a multi-stakeholder letter to congressional appropriators supporting full funding for ONC and was joined by 56 other organizations.
Despite ONC’s limited discretionary funding, they have continued to provide invaluable support to federal, state and local agencies and stakeholders on the many pressing issues impacting our nation’s healthcare system. And without this much-needed increase, HIMSS fears that they will be hard-pressed to successfully execute the many agency initiatives, and priorities of Congress and the Administration.
Notably, since 2004, ONC has largely operated at the same funding levels despite being entrusted with new authorities and responsibilities through legislation [Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, 21st Century Cures Act, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA)], and an increased public health focus.
As a convener for health IT activities across federal agencies, states, and healthcare sector stakeholders, ONC supports a wide array of initiatives aimed at advancing national goals for better, safer, and more equitable healthcare through a nationwide interoperable health IT infrastructure. These include ensuring technology solutions incorporate baseline cybersecurity and privacy requirements. They include a health equity by design philosophy for federal health IT programs, continued advancements in patient access to health information and meaningful engagement as part of the care continuum, and working with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to advance public health data modernization necessary to support the transformation of the healthcare system.
HIMSS believes that ONC will be an even more critical enabler of our health system transformation, and serve as the technical advisor across HHS on implementing information sharing, and ensure that patients, providers, developers, networks, insurers, and other stakeholders truly benefit.
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The HIMSS policy team works closely with the U.S. Congress, federal decision makers, state legislatures and governments, and other organizations to recommend policy, and legislative and regulatory solutions to improve health through information and technology.