Saturday, September 17, 2005

Time to Write Your Congressman(woman)


Rep. Kennedy Says Action on EHR Legislation Unlikely This YearSeptember 16, 2005

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) on Thursday said legislation aimed at increasing the use of electronic health records is unlikely to pass this year, TechnologyDaily reports. "I see fundamental reform coming next year," he said at a National Chamber Foundation summit called "No More Excuses."
Kennedy, who authored with Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) a bill (HR 2234) that would promote health IT, still is pushing Congress to take action this year, TechnologyDaily reports. Kennedy also is urging the business community to make health IT a priority because it can lower costs while improving health care and efficiency, Technology Daily reports.
Kennedy said he does expect a "minimalist bill" this year to organize the work being done at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (Belopotosky, TechnologyDaily, 9/15).

Suggested Text for your Congressman

David Brailer MD
Washington, D.C.

The catastrophic disaster on the Gulf Coast illuminates the critical need for EHR throughout the United States. While I have seen numerous reports about computerized EMRs used by disaster officials and first responders, this is patchwork. It however does magnify the complicating factor of having a system that when running full bore is woefully inadequate for communications and information transfer amongst health care officials.
We now have to compete with at least two national strategic priorities, the Iraqi/Afghan/Terrorist axis, and reconstructing New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As providers and health IT administrator you are at the mercy of the budget, and Congressional focus.
Perhaps since the disasters have the public's attention it is time for organized medicine and providers to organize a lobby. The ONCHIT and NHIN should be incorporated into the budget structure of the recovery operations since it really does relate to national readiness for bioterrorism, or other forms of terrorist activty.
There are many of us who are tiring of talk and no action. Start up grants are slow and cumbersome to acquire and manage. I see the most effective vehicle as an entrepeneurial venture which would flourish given the right economic incentives and cutting through the red tape of government.
A call from your office to the medical community would bring responses.We need to influence our national and state leaders to fund your office and programs fully and immediately.The news from Kennedy about delays was unacceptable.

Very truly yours,


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