As Congress considers the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, The Pew Charitable Trusts urged congressional appropriators to sufficiently fund efforts to improve the use of health information technology and prioritize safety. In a letter sent to Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on June 8, Pew encouraged them to provide the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) with adequate funding to meet its obligations under the 21st Century Cures Act, and to have the agency focus on enhancing patient safety when doing so. These lawmakers oversee the subcommittees in the Senate and House of Representatives that appropriate funds to ONC. The budget request would cut more than a third of the agency’s funding.
Pew called for ONC to receive enough funding to advance efforts to improve the ability of electronic health record systems to share data—known as interoperability—and their usability. The proposed budget cuts may not give ONC adequate resources to fulfill this aim.