Halamka: Next ONC Chief Faces Small Budgets, Big Challenges

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | October 9, 2013

The next National Coordinator for Health IT has some big shoes to fill, says Beth Israel Deaconess CIO John Halamka, and will face an era of shrinking IT budgets, converging deadlines, and hard choices.  With provider dissatisfaction with enormous regulatory burdens only growing stronger, the new Mostashari will have few tools at his or her disposal to transform a struggling industry.

The landscape looks forbidding to the expert brave enough to take up the ONC’s cause.   “Grants largely run out in January 2014. Budgets are likely to shrink because of sequestration and the impact of fiscal pressures (when the Federal government starts operating again),” Halamka writes.  “Many regulatory deadlines converge in the next coordinator’s term.  The right person for this next phase must listen to stakeholder challenges, adjust timelines, polish existing regulations, ensure the combined burden of regulations from many agencies in HHS do not break the camel’s back, and keep Congress informed every step of the way.    I did not include parting the Red Sea, so maybe there is a mere human who could do this.”