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Obama’s Electronic-Medical-Records Scam (It is wasting money and inconveniencing doctors)
National Review ^ | 12/14/2012 | Michelle Malkin

Posted on 12/14/2012 8:05:35 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Here’s more evidence that government “cures” are inevitably worse than the “diseases” they seek to wipe out. Buried in the trillion-dollar stimulus law of 2009 was an electronic-medical-records “incentive” program. Like most of President Obama’s health-care rules, this top-down electronic record-sharing scheme is a big fat bust.

Oversight is lax. Cronyism is rife. The job-killing and privacy-undermining consequences have only just begun.

The program was originally sold as a cost-saving measure. In theory, modernizing record-collection is a good idea, and many private health-care providers have already made the change. But as with many government “incentive” programs, the EMR bribe is a tax-subsidized, one-size-fits-all mandate. This one pressures health-care professionals and hospitals across the country into radically federalizing their patient data and opening up medical information to untold abuse. Penalties kick in for any provider that hasn’t switched over by 2014.

So, what’s it to you? Well, $4 billion has already gone out to 82,535 professionals and 1,474 hospitals, and a total of $6 billion will be doled out by 2016. But the feds’ reckless profligacy, neglect, and favoritism have done more harm than good.

Don’t take my word for it. A recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general acknowledged that the incentive system is “vulnerable to paying incentives to professionals and hospitals that do not fully meet” the program’s quality-assurance requirements. The federal health bureaucracy “has not implemented strong prepayment safeguards, and its ability to safeguard incentive payments postpayment is also limited,” the IG concluded.

Translation: No one is actually verifying whether the transition from paper to electronic is improving patient outcomes and health services. No one is actually guarding against GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). No one is checking whether recipients of the EMR incentives are receiving money redundantly (e.g., raking in payments when they’ve already converted to electronic records). No one is actually protecting private data from fraud, abuse, or exploitation.

Little is being done to recoup ill-gotten payments. In any case, such after-the-fact “pay and chase” policing is a crummy way to run government in lean times — or in fat times, for that matter.

As for the claim that the EMR conversion will reduce paperwork, many doctors say the reality is just the opposite. In Greensboro, N.C., Dr. Richard Aronson told local TV station FOX 8 that the mandate doubled the amount of paperwork in his private practice. Everyone from optometrists to general practitioners to chiropractors to podiatrists must divert precious time and resources to conforming with Washington health bureaucrats’ imposed vision. Some medical professionals are now warning that the dangerous phenomenon of “distracted doctoring” is on the rise as a result of data-driven imperatives that direct health care providers’ attention away from their patients and onto their screens and hand-held devices.

You know who is benefiting from the initiative? Put on your shocked faces: Obama donors and cronies.

Billionaire Judith Faulkner, Obama’s medical information czar and a major Democratic contributor, just happens to be the founder and CEO of Epic Systems — a medical-software company that stores nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population’s health data. Another billion-dollar patient-record database grant program has doled out money to the University of Chicago Medical Center (where first lady Michelle Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett both served in high-paid positions). As I’ve previously reported, these administration grants circumvent any and all congressional deliberation as part of Team Obama’s election-year “We Can’t Wait” initiatives.

Even as the White House touted the move toward gee-whiz 21st-century electronic databases, health-care professionals in the know have debunked that claim, too. Companies like Faulkner’s, which lobbied loudest for the mandates and “incentives,” represent traditional hard-drive-dependent software firms that are already dated. As Athenahealth Chairman and CEO Jonathan Bush, who advocates cloud-computing alternatives, put it: The Obama electronic records mandate is “healthcare information technology’s version of cash-for-clunkers.”

Then there’s the still-growing and untold number of doctors nationwide who are closing up shop or limiting their practices and converting to “concierge care” to escape this and myriad other Obamacare intrusions. My own primary-care physician in Colorado Springs quit her regular practice and converted to “concierge care” because of the EMR imposition. Creve Coeur, Mo., doctor Shari Cohen made the same move.

“The demands of caring for my patients while navigating through the current health-care-delivery systems dictated that I take more and more time away from patient care and spend an increasing part of my day on the system itself,” she told the Creve Couer Patch. “Electronic Medical Records was the final shove for me. It added another whole layer in interference in the doctor-patient relationship and one I was not sure I wanted to take on.”

More paperwork. More waste. Less accountability. Less care. Government malpractice at work.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dncrico; electronicrecords; healthcare; medicalrecords4all; medicaltransparency; obama; obamacare; rico

1 posted on 12/14/2012 8:05:43 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

What Ms. Malkin does not address in this article is something far more insidious: in order to collect the $44,000 in incentive payments for installing an EMR program, providers must comply with certain requirements, including the requirement to send data on Medicare and Medicaid patients to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Rockville, Maryland. This is not discretionary: providers are required to use EMR systems approved by CMS, systems that tie into the CMS system and send data to CMS. So much for patient privacy, eh?

2 posted on 12/14/2012 8:17:10 AM PST by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
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To: SeekAndFind

I wish I could have designed the medical records system. Mine would have been a simple place where doctors could have dumped data. Some formatting so searching would be feasible. Not mandatory. I’d want it to be simple and appealing enough that doctors would choose to use it.

Alternatively, a major consumer website designer like Amazon or Ebay (or Nintendo?) could undoubtedly have designed something that would be user friendly.

Seems like government always becomes more of a nuisance and threat.

3 posted on 12/14/2012 8:20:12 AM PST by cymbeline
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To: ottbmare

Privacy? LOL!

I worked for a major hospital group that is still in the process of implementing their EMR product utilizing Cerner. The amount of waste and outright corruption was MIND BOGGLING! And you think your personal data is safe? We had at least 4 intrusion attempts per year with at least 1 getting into systems that contained patient data. Our security teams were an absolute joke.

Hospitals are generally non-profit and pay their non-clinical staff peanuts compared to the for-profit world. IT people who love what they do and will work for whatever wage will occupy those IT positions. Those with aspirations to higher IT and better wages go to for-profit business. Then you have who my wife affectionately calls “The C students.” Sadly, the C-students occupy a majority of those IT positions.

Do not opt-in to any biometric tracking programs if you’re admitted to a hospital. That data will get out.

4 posted on 12/14/2012 8:21:44 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Some medical professionals are now warning that the dangerous phenomenon of “distracted doctoring” is on the rise as a result of data-driven imperatives that direct health care providers’ attention away from their patients and onto their screens and hand-held devices.

Accompanied my elderly aunt to a cardiovascular surgeon .... the doc (considered a good one) came in with his laptop, all but cursing, trying to get her info on it. I think he looked up at her a couple of times. The nurse had warned us that he would also have to do a brief exam - the government 'required it' in addition to the followup on her condition that he would normally do. He was in a foul temper to start with so the appointment started out rocky and didn't get much better. My mom also had an appointment this week and her doc came in carrying a laptop & trying to get her info on it & up-to-date .... this doc wasn't a happy camper either.

5 posted on 12/14/2012 8:23:41 AM PST by MissMagnolia ("It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains" - Patrick Henry)
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To: ottbmare

They’re trying to put something like the VA’s VistA/MyHealthEvet in place for the entire country, and it ain’t working, for obvious reasons.

6 posted on 12/14/2012 8:35:30 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: rarestia
I'm actually in the middle of implementing an EMR system in our office. It is a nightmare. And this is one of the best EMR systems. The software itself is great, but the Department of Health and Human Services is making my life a living hell with its regulations. I spend all day fussing with compliance issues. The elderly patients are not happy and the doctor is taking a huge hit on the expense.
7 posted on 12/14/2012 8:49:20 AM PST by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
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To: ottbmare

Ping for later reading.

8 posted on 12/14/2012 8:53:41 AM PST by Badabing Badablonde (New to the internet? CLICK HERE)
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To: ottbmare

I recall McKesson and Siemens trying to get into the mix as well. Cerner was the only party on the block when my previous employer started in their pursuit of an EMR.

9 posted on 12/14/2012 8:59:02 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Obamacare means that your doctor will be selected by the lowest bidder as a cost-saving measure.
Your option of Dr.Frank Burns or Dr. Benny Boom Bah.

10 posted on 12/14/2012 9:13:00 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: SeekAndFind; MissMagnolia
"... take more and more time away from patient care and spend an increasing part of my day on the system itself ..."

During my wife's cataract surgery last year the process for the first eye went smoothly. When we arrived for the final consult on the second eye we were told the appointment might take longer than normal because they had to convert to Electronic Medical Records.

The 5 minute visit turned into an hour. Patient history questions already answered on paper forms were asked again so they could enter it directly into the computer. Instead of writing notes for later transcription the doctor had to pick up a microphone and record an audio file while we sat there.

Perhaps their implementation was an example of "worst" practices, but we were not impressed.

11 posted on 12/14/2012 9:15:17 AM PST by ken in texas (I was taught to respect my elders but it keeps getting harder to find any.)
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To: ken in texas

I wonder how many doctors will retire “early” because of these various impositions on their practice and on their profit?

nobamacare: stay healthy or die.

12 posted on 12/14/2012 9:19:57 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: hal ogen

While government intrusion and control along with extra time consumption there is also the lower qualitu servace factor involved. The doctor mindlessly goes through a check list of symptoms on the computer screen, not listening to the patient. What ever the computer spits out is what the problem must be.

13 posted on 12/14/2012 9:36:28 AM PST by jimfr
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To: rarestia

There are quite a few of them that have been approved by the CMS (approved because they can talk to the CMS and send it information about your patients, of course). Some are cloud-bsed, which makes me uncomfortable in the extreme, while some are indwelling on your system. When Obamacare proceeds a bit further, naturally all of your medical information goes straight to the federal government, even if you are not a Medicare or Medicaid patient.

Many people do not realize this, but all of the prescription medications you’ve taken in the past fifteen years are visible to a doctor who has an E-prescribe program. That means they know what diseases you used to have. No point in lying to anybody about your preexisting health problems or in trying to doctor-shop to get more drugs. It’s right there on the screen—what you were prescribed, what the dose was, how many, how long, where, etc. I could stick YOUR name in MY office’s EMR system and learn a great deal about your medical history even before interconnected capabilities are formally mandated.

Makes me wonder if there’s a market niche for doctors who actually promise to stay off the computer, maintain your privacy, and make their own decisions about your care regardless of what the government says they should do.

14 posted on 12/14/2012 10:07:27 AM PST by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
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