Pew to Congress: Don't cut funding to ONC

Pew Charitable Trusts urged Congress to consider the importance of health IT as it reviews President Donald Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget for HHS — including its proposed $22 million in cuts to the ONC.

In a June 8 letter to the bipartisan Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Pew asked lawmakers to ensure the ONC could sustain its obligations under the 21st Century Cures Act. The Act, passed in December, allocated an additional $15 million to support the ONC as it implements new policies, including EHR developments towards interoperability and usability.

"In order to meet Congress' vision on improvements to the usability and interoperability of EHRs, ONC requires sufficient funding," the letter reads. "The President's proposed budget would cut ONC's budget by $22 million, or by more than a third, even though the agency must both maintain many existing programs and implement new authorizations."

Pew also iterated how interoperability and usability intersect with patient safety and care quality.

"If the technology is not easy to use or intuitive, then clinicians may inadvertently prescribe the incorrect dose of a medication, miss critical information or order a test on the wrong patient," the letter reads.

Click here to view the full letter.

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