HHS' chief health information technology agency is getting nearly a $6 million boost under the president's budget request for fiscal 2009.
The proposal, issued yesterday, includes $66 million for HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, whose budget has remained constant at $61 million over the previous two fiscal years.
According to the president's budget proposal, the request for an increase of about 8% supports efforts to achieve the Bush administration's goal of universal access to electronic health records by 2014.
Specifically, it includes $26 million to expand health information exchange network capabilities to additional markets and communities. The request will also support the development of health data standards for the private sector and federal government, and will enable HHS to transition the activities of the American Health Information Community to an independent public-private partnership that will serve as AHIC's successor.
Outside of ONCHIT, the president is proposing to invest IT dollars in other programs. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality would receive $45 million to advance health IT patient-safety measures. In addition, the request proposes $3 million to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation to fund independent evaluations of EHR adoption, and economic factors affecting health IT.
Overall, the president is requesting $737 billion for HHS in fiscal 2009, a $29 billion increase from 2008 or up 4.1%.