This blog has been very critical of the federal government’s blowing $30 billion to bribe doctors and hospitals to install Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) that they do not want, and which do not appear to help patient care. Well, the punchbowl may be taken away soon. One of the goals of the $30 billion was to install EMRs that would talk to each other. Well, in fact, many EMRs do not share information but actually block it:
“ONC should use its authority to certify only those products that…do not block health information exchange,” the budget report states. “ONC should take steps to decertify products that proactively block the sharing of information because those practices frustrate congressional intent, devalue taxpayer investments in [certified EHR technology], and make [the technology] less valuable and more burdensome for eligible hospitals and eligible providers to use.
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) raised the issue at a July 17 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on communications, technology and health. “It may be time for this committee to take a closer look at the practices of vendor companies in this space given the possibility that fraud may
be perpetrated against the American taxpayer,” said Gingrey, who is also a physician.
He expressed concern that more than half of the $24 billion spent by the Meaningful Use program has gone to customers of Epic, a vendor operating a “closed platform.” Senate Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for more scrutiny, reports Politico.