ONC Increases Funding for RECs

The Office of the National Coordinator will announce in tomorrow’s Federal Register that it is revising the funding for the Regional Extension Centers, offering significantly more support in the second half of the four-year program.

Under the revision, ONC will pay 90 percent of the grants for all four years. Under the original arrangements, ONC was to pay 90 percent in years 1 and 2 and 10 percent in years 3 and 4.

The original grants were written with the intent that RECs would be self-sustaining after two years and capable of surviving without major funding. The change appears to be acknowledgment that this does not appear to be realistic for the program as a whole.

The change is not automatic. The revision to funding requires that the grants be modified, which would involve an agreement between ONC and each of the 62 RECs. The announcement suggests that the increased funding will come with additional strings, such as increased reporting, which some RECs may prefer to forego.

The goals, objectives, and activities of the program remain unchanged. In addition,RECs will still be assessed after their first two years of funding, prior to funding being extended.

No new monies are announced to back the increased spending on the RECs, indicating that ONC will fund the modification from existing money.

A PDF of the prepublication notice is available here.

[Update January 25: The published version in the Federal Register is available here.]

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