HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called on members of the health information technology community to stay the course with healthcare reform and the government's meaningful-use health information technology incentive program while outgoing ONC head Dr. David Blumenthal delivered his swan song as the two delivered back-to-back keynote speeches Wednesday at the HIMSS convention in Orlando, Fla.
Sebelius said that despite “lots of disagreement” in Congress on budget deficits and other matters, health information technology “is one of those issues where Democrats and Republicans stand together.”
The Obama administration also remains firmly supportive, she said.
“We believe in health IT because it's an investment in a stronger economy” and understand its “huge job-creating potential,” Sebelius said.
“There is no doubt we're in a very tough budget environment,” she said, noting the Obama administration has proposed hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts. But the administration also realizes “it's equally important to keep the investments that will keep our economy growing” and to improve the health of the nation. The Obama budget includes a 25% increase to run the ONC, she said.