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HHS Secretary MIA

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If you’ve read this blog, then I’m sure you know that Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for HHS secretary. Some people have suggeste Howard Dean to be a nice replacement for Tom Daschle as HHS secretary, but unless I missed something in the midst of the HITECH act mania nothing’s been officially announced by Obama.

All of this means that HHS is without a secretary to implement the HITECH act along with the $2 billion of discretionary funds, choosing an EHR certification criteria, and defining meaningful EHR use.

I can’t imagine the people at HHS are just sitting on their hands, but I sure wonder what impact not having an HHS secretary will have on Obama’s health care reform.

February 26, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Tom Daschle Withdraws Nomination for HHS Secretary

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I haven’t really commented in the past about Tom Daschle’s appointment as HHS Secretary.  However, today it was announced that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name from being HHS secretary.  I don’t know Tom Daschle that well, but from what I’ve read, it seems like Tom Daschle would have been more focused on implementing changes too health care not related to IT.  This guest post by Tom Daschle on the Huffington Post seems to indicate this feeling I have.

One thing is certain, it’s quite shameful that Tom Daschle could somehow have missed $128,203 in additional tax and $11,964 in interest.  Considering the amount of money Obama is planning on investing in EMR, I’m not sure I would have wanted Daschle involved in the process.

Of course, you have to wonder if there exists a politician that isn’t tainted in some serious way or another.  Whoever Obama appoints as HHS secretary, I hope it’s someone who will invest appropriately in HIT.  I also hope they’re as transparent and open as past HHS secretary Mike Leavitt was in his blog.

UPDATE:

I just found this interesting set of quotes and media put together by Alborg about Daschle and various special interests that he might have had.

I’m so happy that Daschle was forced to resign. He was one of the major HIMSS representatives on Obama’s team. From the HIIMSS website:

“HIMSS has arranged for members to personally add their support for Senator Tom Daschle to be confirmed as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “

In fact, he was paid off by HIMSS members, including speaking fees from Misys Healthcare Systems ($12,000) and GE Healthcare ($12,000) on 8/2008. Quote from article “Tax Cheat Daschle Favors Federal Reserve for Health“:

“GE Healthcare, one of several healthcare companies that paid Daschle tens of thousands of dollars to speak to their organizations, stands to profit if Daschle is confirmed and pursues Obama’s plan for more federal involvement in the health care field. Indeed, a part of the Obama plan, which is a specialty of GE Healthcare, is the electronic processing of medical records.”

Another quote from the recent media:

“While the tax cheating is getting some attention from the media, the $220,000 in speaking fees that Daschle collected from special interests in the health care field seems to be getting more coverage because of the fact, as noted by Kenneth P. Vogel of Politico.com, that many of these firms “stand to gain or lose millions of dollars from the work he would do once confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services.” A front-page headline in the Washington Post, “Health Sector Enriched Daschle,” captures the obvious conflict of interest problem for the nominee. One of those firms is GE Healthcare, but chances are you won’t hear much about it from GE’s media properties…”

About Dashle’s book which includes HIT references:

“Daschle’s book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis,” published in early 2008, notes that “we are years, if not decades, behind European nations in harnessing health care information technology’s potential.” It calls for removing much health care policy-making from the political arena but states that at the same time the executive branch of the federal government should promote creation of an IT infrastructure for health information.”

The only question I still have is whether anyone exists that isn’t as bad or worse than Daschle.  At least maybe his replacement will know how to file his taxes.

February 3, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Do We Know What Obama’s Health Plan Is?

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I’ve been writing quite a bit lately about Obama’s investment in EMR and healthcare IT. I find the topic completely fascinating and so I expect I’ll be writing a lot more about Obama and EMR/EHR. Hopefully I can not just talk about it, but add something to the conversation.

Related to all of this is a headline I recently read from The American Spectator that said “Obamacare Could Kill You.” While the headline is meant to attract attention, the first paragraph in the article made a lot of sense. Here’s a small portion of it:

It is probable, therefore, that many people who believe they voted merely for what the Obama-Biden campaign site calls “affordable and accessible” health care will be unpleasantly surprised by the “reform” they are about to get.

It is pretty amazing that Obama could put forth such an ideal with so little detail work on how he was going to make healthcare affordable and accessible. If like the article implies that Tom Daschle is looking at adding in more government bureaucracy to healthcare, then our healthcare system is in real trouble. It reminds me a lot of another headline I read that basically said “To see Government run health care, then Just Take a Look at Medicare.” Can you imagine?

January 22, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Obama’s Investment in EMR, EHR and Health Care IT

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I’ve been hearing a lot about Obama’s plans to invest in health care as part of his economic recovery plan. Here’s a few snippets of things I’ve read. Once I have a few free minutes, I’ll try to take a few minutes to provide my thoughts on Obama’s plans to invest in health care IT and EHR/EMR software.

First, take a look at an excerpt of Obama’s technology agenda from his website change.gov:

Lower Health Care Costs by Investing in Electronic Information Technology Systems: Use health information technology to lower the cost of health care. Invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.

I originally saw the above listed as “Obama to invest $50 Billion in Electronic Health Records” and it’s interesting to see the same thing quoted just a little bit different at the Health Informatics Blog. $50 billion is a lot of EHR software.

Next, the Washington Post wrote that Obama and Daschle is looking for feedback on the health care system:

“In order for us to reform our health care system, we must first begin reforming how government communicates with the American people,” Obama said in a statement yesterday. “These Health Care Community Discussions are a great way for the American people to have a direct say in our health reform efforts.”

As part of this, you can go and share your thoughts on health care in the US with Obama and his health care team on Change.gov. It will be interesting to see what happens with the information posted to that site. I’m not sure exactly how we’ll know if what we’re saying is heard or not. However, the idea that ti might be heard is great to think about.

January 12, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.