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Health IT Organizations Urge Congress to Increase NIST Funding

July 10, 2017
by Heather Landi
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A number of health IT industry organizations and associations have signed a multi-stakeholder letter to Congress responding to the Trump Administration’s 2018 proposed budget and to voice their support for increasing the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) funding for next year.

Among the organizations that signed the letter are the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHIS) and the ACT|The App Association.

Currently, the administration’s proposed budget would cut $237.2 million from NIST financing, which represents a 25 percent decrease from fiscal 2017. “Especially troubling, $88.7 million of the overall reduction would come from NIST’s Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account. The budget also contemplates eliminating 337 (14 percent) of STRS personnel,” the letter states.

Further, the multi-stakeholder letter states, “Lawmakers should understand that the resources NIST needs to undertake industry-government efforts on cybersecurity, including the voluntary Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, comes from the STRS account. Our groups recognize that policymakers need to spend taxpayers’ monies wisely, but the framework has been a remarkable success.”

And, the letter further states, “Cyber stakeholders may not agree with NIST on every information security standard, guidelines or practice that it develops, yet pound for pound and dollar for dollar, few government entities have done has much as NIST to help businesses strengthen their cybersecurity in collaborative ways.”

What’s more, the organizations call for Congress to boost the agency’s funding given the critical tasks it undertakes with the private sector on cybersecurity, such as protecting the Internet of Things.

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