ONC's structure gets flatter as its $2B stimulus appropriation ends

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | June 3, 2014

It should have come as little surprise that Dr. Karen DeSalvo, in announcing last week a reorganization of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, said she was aiming for a “flatter” reporting structure.

One reason for the reorg is obvious. A massive bulge in ONC funding is deflating because most of the $2 billion that was directly appropriated to the ONC by Congress in 2009 for health IT programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent over the past four years. The appropriation was part of the economic stimulus during the Great Recession.

DeSalvo, in a recent memo to her staff, noted that the ARRA's “health IT infrastructure and program investments are ending and it is our responsibility to take this opportunity to reshape our agency to be as efficient and effective as possible, never losing sight of our primary accountability—the people of America.” There were no layoffs with the reorganization; the ONC head count remains at 191 full-time equivalents...