More funding for QIOs, providers tell budget office

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As FY 2006 budget proposals are being debated, providers are pushing hard for increased funding for Medicare quality improvement organizations.

Ten healthcare organizations, including the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the American Health Care Association, the American Health Quality Association, and the American Pharmacists Association, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget saying the president's proposed budget may not provide enough needed funding for the organization. The Department of Health and Human Services is requesting a funding boost for QIOs in its FY 2006 budget request.

"As you may know, the QIO program represents the largest coordinated federal investment in quality, and yet the program accounts for only one tenth of one percent of overall Medicare spending," their letter said.

AHQA Executive Vice President David G. Schulke, one of the signatories of the letter, told the Bureau of National Affairs that it is not known how much HHS actually requested,. Early guesses put the figure at about $2 billion from August 2005 to August 2008. But he said that figure may have been adjusted.