So word has gotten out that there was indeed significant lobbying efforts by the big vendor EHRs (Epic, Cerner, GE, Allscripts) to secure viability for years to come with the healthcare legislation in 2009 (also known by physicians as Meaningful Use Incentives). In this blog, I’ve discussed this before, both in the context of Meaningful Use and in the context of certification for Meaningful Use. This excerpt from the article says it all…
None of that would have happened without the health records legislation that was included in the 2009 economic stimulus bill — and the lobbying that helped produce it. Along the way, the records industry made hundreds of thousands of dollars of political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans. In some cases, the ties went deeper. Glen E. Tullman, until recently the chief executive of Allscripts, was health technology adviser to the 2008 Obama campaign. As C.E.O. of Allscripts, he visited the White House no fewer than seven times after President Obama took office in 2009, according to White House records.
I had already suspected this when I pored through the details of the legislation and how it would have affected me, a family physician who was already using an EHR and doing everything that could possibly meet Meaningful Use but would not gain any benefits from the incentives all because I was an EHR that wasn’t certified. And to get a certified EHR meant losing an arm or a leg or a downgrade on my current capabilities…none of which made any sense to me for a physician. Until now. In the end, it certainly was not a benefit to me as a physician or my patients.
I thought it was appropriate to call it a love story, for surely these two entities were certainly in bed together (EHR vendors and MU legislation). And after the bed sheets have been lifted, it is oh so clear what shenanigans were going on. By the way, there is a more apt word for it…it’s called crony capitalism.
I’m more determined now to shut these vendors down. Or at the very least, set all of them on a true level playing field and see what happens. But it won’t be easy and the rules are certainly rigged against the independent physician/open-source software movement.