AHIMA to Congress: Fully Fund Cures Act

It was an increasingly unusual display of bipartisan cooperation when Congress came together to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, a sweeping piece of legislation that made a diverse range of investments in health care programs, in late 2016. Then-President Barack Obama subsequently signed the bill into law. Now, however, experts are worried that some of the law’s health IT-related programs, including those to be run via the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), will not be adequately funded during the new administration. As first reported in the AHIMA Journal, the organization is among those that have urged lawmakers to ensure robust funding for Cures’ health IT programs in this year’s appropriations process. “Overall, AHIMA is concerned that the President’s current proposed FY18 budget request will not provide ONC with the sufficient funding to meet the obligations set forth by Congress,” the organization wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

Among the Cures provisions most important to AHIMA and other health IT advocates: the Health IT Advisory Committee, which is tasked with creating standards for interoperability. The law generally placed an emphasis on empowering patients to access their electronic health information, along with protecting patient privacy; interoperability is key to these objectives. Yet President Donald Trump’s suggested cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and ONC could put these plans into jeopardy. AHIMA, for its part, is encouraging lawmakers to remember the core principles of the Cures Act. “Failure to adequately fund ONC will undermine a major tenet of the Cures Act itself—‘the delivery of new drugs and devices to the right patient at the right time by ensuring electronic health record systems are interoperable for seamless patient care,’” AHIMA wrote in a letter to appropriators, quoting the legislation itself.

Other organizations that have expressed concerns about Trump’s budget blueprint include the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Heart Association, and Research America, among numerous additional groups. The President’s suggested budget would make dramatic cuts to funding for the NIH and for HHS generally, along with changes in funding for the CDC. Taken together, advocates believe that this diminished investment would have a chilling impact on scientific and medical research and advancement.

Click here for the article from the AHIMA Journal on the need to fully fund Cures programs.

Click here to read the letter from AHIMA to Senate appropriators. 


One Comment

  1. Yacon Root
    Sep 04, 2017

    Amazing Website. Really enjoyed reading.

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