HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a press opportunity today with David Blumental, National Coordinator for Health Information technology and Mary Wakefield, Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration regarding a $31 million dollar grant program which is part of a $1.3 Billion dollar government program to make medical records available on Electronic Networks which will make Healthcare more efficient presumably and more cost effective. A healthcare facility in Mississippi will be one of the immediate recipients; which is still trying to pull themselves out of the effects of health records lost during Hurricaine Katrina.
A giant central gathering place for Health Records, the like of the Veterans Administration, Medicare or Medicaid may be in the offing. The three year plan is intended to make it easier for Doctors to not duplicate services, find prescription information for people affected by moving, natural disasters or other catastrophies.
Making the system optional…..seems to be of a prime concern. If the Obama Administration makes Electronic Medical Records as an option and does not pay for it…..there is a question…as to who might want to participate unless they can see immediate cost savings. The rub seems to be the sensitive information that could be accessed regarding drug addictions, mental illness, abortion procedures, sexual disease and a variety of social infections and personal information that might affect insurance rates.
The Law of Unintended Consequences seems to have been briefly addressed by the Administration….saying David Blumenthal: that “Placing your records on Electroncic Medical Record Databases will be purely optional and not required…by anyone.”
So, who might want to make this Central Electronic Gathering system work? The Drug Companies, The Hospitals, The Doctors and the Insurance Companies. Looks like it might be a done deal… doesn’t it?