Patient Privacy Non-Existent; Doctors Now Required To Provide All Medical Records To Feds


By: Doug Book

Over the past 2 decades, Republican and Democrat administrations have  joined forces to require the use by physicians and hospitals of  government-certified, inter-operable electronic medical records systems, or  EMRs. These online record-keeping systems will send personal patient information  collected by all participating providers directly to the centralized Office of  the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, a newly created  government agency whose job is making the medical records of the American people “inter-operable–” that is, instantly accessible to any “qualified” agency or  agent.

For example, if the patient of a New Jersey physician should become the  victim of a medical emergency in Nevada, stored medical information will be  instantly available to a Las Vegas surgeon. Expensive and time-consuming testing  may be unnecessary as the patient’s entire medical history will be a matter of  computer record.

On its face, the advent of EMRs appears to be a boon for patients and doctors  alike. But as with all federally mandated contributions to the greater good, any  advantages associated with EMRs are guaranteed to benefit and serve the DC  bureaucracy and not the American people.

First of all, why should it be necessary to FORCE participation of healthcare  providers in the EMR system by means of financial blackmail? “Doctors who do not  participate by 2015 will be penalized 1 percent of their Medicare payments,  which increases to 3 percent over 3 years.” The state of Massachusetts reports that “…60 percent of doctors could not meet the EMR  mandate and face potential loss of their licenses in 2015.” Quite a weighty  stick to wield against physicians who have dedicated years of their lives and  countless dollars to secure that license to practice medicine.

As for the carrot, doctors who maintain online records will receive “…up to $44,000 for five consecutive years of  Medicare participation, or up to $63,750 over six years for Medicaid  participation.” And as physicians stand to earn some $380,000 over a six year  period, hospitals and other eligible institutions can rake in $12 million or  more.

Of course, any participant expecting payment for services or the privilege of  keeping their license to practice must meet certain EMR “meaningful use  requirements” as set down by the government. And the principle requirement is  the absolute selling out on patient privacy. Many physicians are now accompanied  to the examining room by “scribes” who take down every word spoken by both  doctor and patient, all for the purpose of mandatory EMR input. Doctor/patient  confidentiality will consist of total access to patient records by some 2.2  million individuals and agencies, including, of course, the federal  government.

And how will that intrusive bureaucracy make use of records submitted through  EMR? Patient behavior will be tracked in order to be modified as necessary.  Smokers, for example,  will be “encouraged” to quit or absorb massive  premium increases–at BEST! Patients will be assigned risk scores to determine  whether treatment should be offered or withheld. Why spend vast sums treating a  sky diver or someone unlikely to get well? And patient behavior modification  will be introduced as Michael Bloomberg’s Nanny State mandates and exclusions  will extend throughout the country.

Most importantly, medical treatment will be directed by the state or federal  government. Bureaucrats will inform doctors what level of care may be offered  based upon the patient profile–a profile that may include political party, race,  religion, income level, or even firearm ownership. As with rewards and penalties  based upon EMR usage, doctors will earn bonuses for limiting costly treatments  and be penalized for “unnecessary” charges to Medicare or Medicaid.

“This is the federal government trying to dictate the practice of  medicine…trying to micromanage physicians across the country,” says Heritage  Foundation health policy analyst Chris Jacobs. Of course, solicitous Americans  will accommodate the bureaucracy by dying when directed and without complaint.  What could possibly be more fair?

TLB recommends you visit Western Journalism for more great/pertinent articles and information.


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