Healthcare industry associations reacted to the White House’s budget proposal that circulated on Tuesday with strong cautionary tones and a call on Congress to fund the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT adequately.
“This budget request stops progress in its tracks,” Thomas Payne, MD, board chair of the American Medical Informatics Association, said in a statement. “The ecosystem that entices young scientists and clinicians to pursue their passion to help patients will be severely damaged, resulting in a downward spiral of innovation, delayed or forgone investment in new treatments, and a stagnant patchwork of IT-enabled patient care.”
[Also: Trump’s budget slashes ONC by more than a third]
President Trump’s proposed budget slashes $22 million from ONC, $5.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, $100 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, $21 million from the National Library of Medicine, and effectively eliminates the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
“We are disappointed by the Administration’s proposed cuts to ONC,” AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon said. “The bipartisan passage of the Cures Act by Congress last year made clear that investment in our nation’s health IT infrastructure is critically important if we are to advance new drugs and devices and fully realize the benefits of a learning healthcare system. ONC is a critical partner in this endeavor.”
[Also: Trump budget cuts $600 billion from Medicaid]
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society also expressed concern that Trump’s budget proposal would have a negative impact on innovation, care quality and patient safety and sends the wrong message about the U.S. as a medical innovation leader.
“The cuts to ONC will delay advancements in interoperability and information sharing outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act,” HIMSS said. “Cuts to CDC will delay advancements in national priorities like the public health preparedness infrastructure, while defunding AHRQ will all but eliminate discovery of best practices that will improve care delivery and increase value for patients, and reduce costs for the federal government.”
Trump’s budget proposal still has to make it through Congress, of course, which many political experts are already saying will prove challenging. HIMSS and AHIMA urged Congress to reject the budget reductions with Trump’s proposal.
“We hope that as congressional appropriators draft the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills for fiscal year 2018, they will ensure that ONC is properly funded and signal their commitment to meeting the goals of the 21st Century Cures Act,” AHIMA’s Gordon said.