Monday, April 18, 2011

Budget Deal Appears to Spare HITECH

HDM Breaking News, April 12, 2011

An extensive search of the 459-page Continuing Resolution that cuts more than $38 billion from the federal government's fiscal 2011 finds no reductions in health information technology programs funded under the HITECH Act.

However, officials of the House Appropriations Committee and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology did not quickly return e-mails asking whether any HITECH funds were eliminated.

The big HITECH program, obviously, is the electronic health records meaningful use incentive program, of which about $27 billion is anticipated to be available over a period of several years. Much of the funding for other HITECH programs to support state health information exchanges, regional extension centers, Beacon Community demonstration programs, and college training of health I.T. professionals has already been spent.

The Continuing Resolution does cut four administrative "czars" including the health care czar. But these positions are empty as the officials --including Nancy Ann DeParle who oversaw the health care reform battle--completed specific tasks and moved on. The House and Senate expect to vote on the Continuing Resolution this week, following the budget agreement reached in recent days.

Click here for the Continuing Resolution and additional information.

--Joseph Goedert

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