AMIA Declares President’s FY 2018 Budget Imperils Efforts to Deliver New Cures and Safer Treatments

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The following statement was released today by AMIA Board Chair Thomas H. Payne, MD, FACMI regarding the President’s FY 2018 Budget Request
President Trump released his administration’s FY 2018 Budget Request today, adding important definition to a Budget Blueprint revealed in March.  All budgeting decisions are expressions of priorities, and, unfortunately, this administration’s priorities are not aligned with the priorities of AMIA, our members, or the patients we serve.  
The President’s FY 2018 Budget Request to Congress cuts billions of dollars from dozens of vital programs across the NIH, CDC, FDA, SAMHSA, HRSA, CMS, ONC, and AHRQ.  Nearly every federal agency with which AMIA and its members work would need to radically reduce staffing and reorient programming under the President’s Budget Request.
  • NIH would sustain cuts across the board of more than $5.6B, which equals a 17.4% reduction in 2017 funding levels;
  • ONC would lose over one-third of its $60M budget to $38M;
  • NLM would lose $21M, or 5 percent of its FY 2017 funding;
  • NCATS would lose more than 18 percent of its budget with more than $100M decline; and
  • AHRQ would be eliminated, with 84 percent of their FY 2017 budget “consolidated” into the NIH.
The impact of these cuts, if they are realized, will reverberate across our nation’s hospitals, universities, and other important sectors of the economy.  The ecosystem that entices young scientists and clinicians to pursue their passion to help patients will be severely damaged, resulting in a downward spiral of innovation, delayed or forgone investment in new treatments, and a stagnant patchwork of IT-enabled patient care.
At a time when we should be acting on bipartisan agreements, such as passage of the 21st Century Cures Act or the Precision Medicine Initiative, and building on our nationwide investment in EHR adoption, this budget request stops progress in its tracks.  Worse, this budget will imperil long-standing and important activities at the NIH, FDA and ONC intended to deliver new cures, safer treatments, and higher quality care for all Americans. 
AMIA is committed to working with the Congress to ensure that promises outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act are kept.  Informatics is the key to unlocking value and knowledge from data, and we firmly believe that informatics can help improve efficiency and generate cost savings without such drastic cuts.  AMIA looks forward to demonstrating the role informatics can play towards the goals of improved care, better patient outcomes and lower costs. 
Dr. Payne is the Medical Director, Information Technology Services, UW Medicine at the University of Washington