Surprise, Surprise, Surprise


The AAFP is trying to tell Senators that this whole EHR/EMR requirement and meaningful use demand is a problem.  Really? Where were these guys years ago?  I wrote about it (and yes, they list me as one of their favorite blogs for some unknown reason).  Others told the AAFP this was going to be a problem.  But now they act as if this was a surprise:

At a Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions hearing this week, AAFP President Robert Wergin, M.D., of Milford, Neb., told senators how EHRs have helped and hurt in his practice.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., asked about the cost to purchase an EHR system. Wergin estimated it at $70,000 to $80,000 per provider, noting that practices have to buy software upgrades to meet meaningful use standards. Government incentives amounted to about $44,000.

“We’ve got a real problem here,” Cassidy said. “Productivity on the front lines is down by 25 percent.”

Let’s see: tons of money needed for the EHR/EMR, less then half of it given to pay for it by the gov’t, and productivity down 25%.  Sounds like a plan!!

How was this a surprise to anyone?

It wasn’t.  All good businessmen have business plans.  They see 5 or 10 years in the future.  They look at all offers on the table with a jaundiced eye.  They never accept bad deals.   The AAFP, who supposedly represents family docs, did none of the that.  They were star struck by this administration and followed their bubble gum promises like they were following the pied piper….until they were all gone.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  9 comments for “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

  1. RSW
    March 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

    AAFP: fucking incompetent morons, or criminally corrupt collaborators?

  2. thomas Winston
    March 22, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    ummm….. if they represented family docs, we wouldn’t have MOC, or countless other unfunded hurdles to doing our life’s work.

  3. David Caughell
    March 22, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    I decided to drop out of MU last month, all this clicking and not doctoring, I am done. MU killed a pretty good EMR. I have been using EHR for quite a while and it actually sped up portions of my care process. And created a record that was defensible to Insurance audits, ( way more likely than a law suit) and while cruising along on version 4.95 at a cost of about 500 to get in, 300 annual maint. Version 2010-14 became so cumbersome and costs exploded.. 2000 per year maint now ( per provider ) I am looking for my ver 4.95 disks. yes all the bells and whistles are “neat” in the look what I can do world. But I need to see more than 2-3 persons an hour. Really frustrating.

  4. Pat
    March 21, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Talk about a decade late and and billions short … back before the ACA, when jackasses like Newt Gingrich were pushing for these mandates a decade ago, some of us were blogging and lobbying to warn against this garbage. But no, the AAFP and the rest of the fools who always believe the government will do good for them empowered the ACA to accelerate the self-screwing.

    This will only get worse for docs and patients. No one in is right mind would get into this industry now.

    Hope Spring Texan reads, and is able to comprehend this story.

  5. Seneca
    March 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Electronic records could certainly be better than paper records of the past, but they should come to market because of their own inherent superiority–not government mandate. Unfortunately, there are many people, including physicians, who still believe that our government masters know what is best for us. I would like to foresee that we will cycle through this EMR/ACO/CIN/PCMH nonsense in the next five years or so just like we dropped vertically integrated HMO’s in the 90’s. The social engineers have a lot of capital invested in this, so I’m not optimistic.

  6. Randy
    March 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

    We all remember when the government forced Pizza Hut to implement ordering pizza online. Actually we don’t because when it’s in the best interest of a business to implement new technology they don’t have to strong-armed into it.

    I’m a solo FP and so far I’ve qualified for meaningful use and jumped through the PQRS hoops. The next level of meaningful use looks impossible though, and I think taking the penalty will be preferable and probably inevitable. It’s frustrating because I’m not an anti-computer dinosaur, I’m actually kind of a computer nerd, but the next level of meaningful use looks insurmountable for one guy to achieve.

    The AAFP is worthless and mainly concerned with keeping their “seat at the table” with the government. Unfortunately they don’t appear to actually accomplish anything with that seat.

    • Fred powell
      March 21, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Same here Randy. I actually enjoy computers and can do most of my own IT. I was actually happy at first to embrace the new technology. But when checking a box or punching a button to jump through a govt hoop becomes more important than dx and tx of the patient or outcome, I’m minimizing it. I’ve decided to use what’s useful and productive but take the penalty on the chin

  7. Fred powell
    March 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

    I’d estimate the cost per provider to be 100k. And then the meaningful use was too onerous/tedious to comply with so I got nothing. Add to that having to replace operating systems here and there to stay HIPAA compliant, and it’s more. Then one has to factor in how much slower charting is so less patients seen, less productivity. And now the ultimate kick in the balls is that medicare is going to pay me less each year because I refuse to ask every patient their primary language or other meaningless info that would qualify me for meaningful use. My main goal is to deliver the best care. eMRs haven’t helped but hindered

  8. Reggie Lyell
    March 21, 2015 at 7:25 am

    i agree. However, I think our having more “real” numbers instead of estimates gives more validity to their point. Several of us who were already using EHR before MU voiced concerns over the costs. Also, prior to MU, EHR was truly meaningful…it actually helped with patient care and data collection. Now, it is Approaching “meaninglessness”.

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