Written by: John Lynn
I previously wrote about a NJ bill to make non CCHIT EHR use illegal. I got an email from one of my readers that I should take a look at the financial ties to this NJ bill to see how that might have influenced its creation.
Turns out that Al Borg was already a few steps ahead of me and did the following research:
Some data on all of this:
- HIMSS NJ capter- http://www.njhimss.org/abouthimss/abouthimss3.html
- information on NJ Rep Pallone- http://himss.capwiz.com/bio/id/387 (click on “PAC” then 2007/2008 to see the likes of Cerner ($1000), GEPAC ($5000), MS ($5000), Siemens ($6000), ACP PAC ($6750), AMA PAC ($7000).
About the main sponsor of the bill-
- The Honorable Herb Conaway, MD tried to be elected governor in 2004 but was soundly defeated by his Republican rival.
- The Honorable Herb Conaway, MD actually started the mandate-EHR quest back 2 years ago, with the first law passed by the NJ Senate 1.5 years ago- http://healthcare.zdnet.com/?p=615&tag=rbxccnbzd1
- In HIMSS 2008 The Honorable Herb Conaway, MD was presented with the HIMSS State Leadership Award.
- In HIMSS 2009 he was also a major speaker on the “State Officials Legislative Forum”- http://www.prolibraries.com/himss/?select=new_speaker&speakerID=25947&conferenceID=7
- On 2/2009 Conaway is featured in HIMSS HIELights webpage- http://www.himss.org/HIMSS_HIElights/HIMSSHIElights.asp?date=200902.
- Conaway is no friend of physicians and hospitals- check out the bills that he sponsored to force medical error reporting, for prohibiting the payment for “preventable medical errors” and now this pro-CCHIT HIT bill. If you look at here (http://www.democracyforamerica.com/press/2004/6) you’ll see that he’s for Obama’s universal health care dreams, using an HIT backbone, of course.
- I couldn’t find any major political contributions here- http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/campaigns/herb_conaway.asp?cycle=08), so I presume his greatest source of income are speaker fees. Thus I looked for his NJ financial disclosure sheets and yup, he got money from HIMSS, from the “State Alliance for e-Health”, from the “Healthcare Information Management Soc” (only in the 2007 and 2008 years, and I suspect amounts are under-reported):
- in 2008: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/ethics/FinancialDisclosure/ConawayH2008.pdf
- in 2007: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/ethics/FinancialDisclosure/ConawayH2007.pdf
- in 2006: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/ethics/FinancialDisclosure/ConawayH2006.pdf
- in 2005: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/ethics/FinancialDisclosure/ConawayH2005.pdf
Ok, so once you discount for some of Al’s bravado it’s interesting to see the back history of the sponsor of this bill. Even if you don’t want to make the claim that he doesn’t have financial reasons for creating this bill, you can at least see where he drank the kool-aid.
Al also missed some other sources of campaign contribution for Herb Conaway and the co-sponsor of the bill Chivukula Upendra. I also found this page on the JN legislature site where I think we’ll be able to track the votes for this bill. Looks like it made it through committee (which it looks like Herb Conaway chairs) with a unanimous vote by Herb Conaway Jr., Connie Wagner, Mary Pat Angelini, Anthony Chiappone, Jerry Green, Linda R. Greenstein, Sandra Love, Nancy F. Munoz, Vincent J. Polistina, Joan M. Quigley, and Linda Stender. That’s a lot of people who probably aren’t getting good information on the EHR industry and CCHIT’s effectiveness.
On that note, someone mentioned in the comments of my first post that I should contact the representative from NJ and take a more proactive approach in responding to such a horrible bill. I’m not sure a representative from NJ really cares about what someone from NV might say, but I also think that it’s worth taking a stand on such a bill so that this bill doesn’t cause other states to consider similar bills. So, here’s the page where you can send a message to Herb Conaway, Jr and Upendra J. Chivukula. Should be interesting to see if they reply to a whole bunch of emails on the issue.
What’s even crazier to me is that Herb Conaway is a physician. I guess he hasn’t been practicing with an EHR lately.