A Dallas hospital’s bizarre bungle of the first U.S. case of Ebola leaves me wondering: Is someone covering up for a crony billionaire Obama donor and her controversy-plagued, taxpayer-subsidized electronic medical records company?
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital revealed in a statement that a procedural flaw in its online health records system led to miscommunication between nurses and doctors. The facility sent Ebola victim Thomas Duncan home despite showing signs of the disease.
Hospital officials initially cited workflow and information-sharing problems for the botch. Mysteriously, the hospital backed off a day later. The communications flaw in the medical records software — which apparently had prevented some staff from accessing Duncan’s travel history from Liberia — suddenly disappeared.
Texas Health contracts with Epic Systems for its electronic medical records system. Epic was founded by billionaire Judy Faulkner, a top Obama donor whose company is the dominant EMR player in the U.S. health care market. Epic employees donated nearly $1 million to political parties and candidates between 1995 and 2012 — 82 percent of it to Democrats. The company’s Top 10 PAC recipients are all Democrat or left-wing outfits.
Want to publish your own articles on DistilINFO Publications?
Send us an email, we will get in touch with you.
Faulkner, an influential Obama campaign finance bundler, served as an adviser to David Blumenthal. He’s the White House health information technology guru in charge of dispensing the federal electronic medical records subsidies that Faulkner pushed President Obama to adopt. Faulkner also served on the committee Blumenthal chaired.
Cozy arrangement, that.
Epic and other large firms lobbied aggressively for nearly $30 billion in federal subsidies for their companies under the 2009 Obama stimulus package. The law penalizes medical providers who fail to comply with the mandate. Obama claimed the new rules would cut costs and reduce errors. But health care analysts at Rand Corp. admitted last year that their cost-savings predictions of $81 billion a year were vastly inflated.
Epic has been the subject of industry and provider complaints about its antiquated closed-end system. Until recently, health care providers say, the company refused to share data with doctors and hospitals using alternative platforms. Now it charges exorbitant fees to enable the very kind of interoperability the Obama EMR mandate was supposed to ensure.
Another reality check: The inspector general of Health and Human Services reported last year that no one is verifying whether the transition from paper to electronic is improving patient outcomes and health services; no one is checking whether recipients of the EMR incentives are receiving money redundantly; and no one is protecting private data from fraud, theft or exploitation.
In July, The Boston Globe reported that there is “no safety oversight of the vendors who sell” EMR and EHR systems. One malpractice insurance group revealed that it found 147 cases “in which electronic health records contributed to ‘adverse events’ that affected patients” — 46 resulted in death.
The president-elect of the American Medical Association, Dr. Steven Stack, told Modern Healthcare magazine earlier this month that Epic’s software architecture “often leaves out key information and corrupts data in transit.”
Date: October 12, 2014