Meaningful Use and Sequestration

I’m a little surprised that I didn’t hear more discussion of sequestration and it’s possible impact on meaningful use and other EHR and healthcare IT related programs. Maybe I was just in the wrong circles for this discussion, but I didn’t hear about sequestration until the final day of HIMSS.

I think the effects of sequestration on meaningful use, EHR and other Health IT aren’t exactly known right now. Although some hints at the potential effects of sequestration were given at HIMSS 2013.

Jessica Kahn sent out the following tweet about the topic:

Of course, it’s hard to read into exactly how the EHR incentive payments could be effected by sequestration. I can’t imagine the cuts will allow them to pay a lower incentive amount since that’s been legislated. I could see it slowing payments down. I guess we’ll have to see what Jessica means by her tweet.

Farzad Mostashari also commented on the effect to ONC of sequestration in this PhysBizTech article Q&A:
Q: By how much will sequestration reduce your budget and what has to give?

A: It’s 5 percent: A $3 million cut for an office whose budget has been $60 million since the day it was founded by President George W. Bush. This is going to hurt. We are not furloughing people, which is the bulk of the budget. So our contracts are going to take a big hit.

What do you think will be the impact on EHR and healthcare IT because of sequestration?