OMB to request health IT investment details in Exhibit 300s

Agencies likely will have to describe in more detail their health IT investments in their annual budgets, with an eye toward future system collaboration and integration, according to a draft Office of Management and Budget memo obtained by GCN.

The memo, being commented on by CIOs, would require agencies in their Exhibit 300s to describe current plans for putting in place adopted federal health data standards and implementing future standards.

'As with all other information technology investments, OMB's Office of E-Government and Information Technology will be reviewing the justifications for these investments,' said Karen Evans, OMB e-government and IT administrator.

The draft memo does not give a time frame when agencies would have to comply. But the timing of the memo seems to indicate that OMB hopes to have this ready for the fiscal 2007 budget process. Agencies must submit their IT funding requests to OMB by Sept. 12.

The administration is leading a public-private effort to develop a national health IT infrastructure to support the exchange of data, such as electronic health records, to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care.

To supplement its review, OMB will consult with HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, which has planned for health IT investments and health data standards selection through its Federal Health Architecture efforts.

The review and consultation will help OMB determine whether proposed health IT investments align with and contribute to the administration's initiative for a national health IT infrastructure. Investments within the federal government make up an important segment of the national health IT infrastructure.

'As a result of our review, and in order to further the development and interoperability of federal health information technology infrastructure, we will be identifying potential areas for further agency collaboration, integration, implementation, interoperability and consolidation,' Evans said.

Also, agencies with systems involved in the delivery of health-care services, public-health surveillance, adverse-event reporting or other systems with large health data components may be asked to submit additional documentation and analysis.

This memo would follow a requirement from the administration's agency 2006 budget pass-back that asked departments to redirect all health IT investments so they are consistent with the president's health IT framework. OMB estimated that agencies spent about $5 billion on health IT systems in 2005, a government source said.

This move to coordinate health IT spending is similar to OMB's other efforts to manage federal technology spending in areas such as electronic rule-making, grants management and software licenses.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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