ONC to downsize its 10 offices to 2

The ONC is consolidating its 10 offices into two, agency officials told Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

The downsize would restructure the agency into two offices. One led by Office of Standards and Technology Director Steven Posnack would focus on interoperability and data sharing as well as technical issues, and the other, led by Director of Policy Elise Sweeney Anthony, would focus on lowering physician IT burdens. Its other offices, such as privacy, nursing and patient engagement, would either disappear or be absorbed.

Ten to 15 staff members have already left the agency so far this year, including CNO Rebecca Freeman, RN, who quit a month ago, Politico notes.

The reason for the downsize is not yet clear, but it may be cost related — ONC is expected to face $22 million in budget cuts. However, ONC Chief Don Rucker, MD, has also repeatedly stated the focus of the agency under his leadership is narrow: interoperability and usability.

A proposed rule for the restructuring is expected to be posted in the Federal Register later this month or next, the officials told Politico.

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