Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal Would Increase ONC’s Funding

March 5, 2014 in News

On Tuesday, President Obama released a fiscal year 2015 budget proposal that includes funding for a variety of federal health IT efforts, the AP/U-T San Diego reports (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/U-T San Diego, 3/4).

The proposal is not expected to be adopted by Congress, as lawmakers are developing their own budget blueprints (Morgan, Reuters, 3/4).

Funding Proposal for Meaningful Use Incentive Program

Obama’s $3.9 trillion FY 2015 budget proposal requests $1.8 billion to support health IT incentive payments.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers that demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Obama requested the same amount in FY 2014. Actual spending on health IT incentives payments came to $1.07 billion in 2013 (Manos, Government Health IT, 3/5)

Funding Proposal for ONC

Obama’s budget proposal includes $75 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, $14 million more than FY 2014.

According to the budget proposal, the funding would support “resources to maintain core activities related to health IT standards, policy and adoption with an emphasis on consensus-based solutions to a broad range of health IT issues.”

The budget proposal for ONC would support:

  • The meaningful use program;
  • The health IT certification program and strengthened surveillance activities;
  • The Blue Button program;
  • A National Learning Consortium to disseminate health IT and meaningful use best practices; and
  • A public-private partnership aimed at boosting patient safety and health IT usability.

Other Health-IT Related Funding

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal includes $440 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, $24 million less than the FY 2014 level. AHRQ’s budget proposal includes $23 million for health IT research, $6 million less than FY 2014. According to the budget proposal, AHRQ in FY 2015 would provide $20 million to support 40 health IT research grants to inform and support the meaningful use of health IT (Obama’s FY 2015 budget, 3/4).

Department of Veterans Affairs: Obama proposed $65.3 billion of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The proposal includes $312 million to fund technological improvements to help reduce a longstanding backlog of disability claims (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/5).

The proposal also allocates $893 million for three VA health initiatives, including:

  • $567 million for the Veterans Health Administration’s telehealth programs, such as home health monitoring and expanding access to care in rural areas;
  • $269 million for the VA’s VistA Evolution project, a multi-year initiative to upgrade its EHR system; and
  • $57 million for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record project (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 3/5).

Health Insurance Exchanges: The budget proposal includes $25 million over two years to fund health insurance exchange monitoring to prevent fraud (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/5).

HHS’ Office for Civil Rights: Obama’s proposal allocates $41 million for HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, $2 million more than FY 2014. The budget would support OCR’s enforcement of HIPAA. The budget increase is aimed at supporting the agency’s centralized case management operations and online complaint system (Obama’s FY 2015 budget, 3/4).

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