Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Stimulus Provision Means 'New Bureaucracy' for Health IT

By Ed O'Keefe

Following up on a post from this morning, The Eye spoke with Betsy McCaughey, the author of an op-ed that raises concerns about a provision in the stimulus package dealing with the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services.

McCaughey acknowledged she knew the coordinator office was established by President Bush in 2004, even though she referred to it as a "new bureaucracy" in her op-ed.

She said she did so because, “It’s being changed from an office that advises doctors and hospitals that want to use medical technology into an office that enforces a universal federal system. The name of the office may be the same, but the scope, purpose and coercive powers attached to it are quite different.”

McCaughey, elected New York lieutenant governor in 1994 as a Republican, is now a registered Democrat.

“I’m not making my arguments based on partisanship," she said.

“I also support the concept of electronic medical records. I’m a health advocate, I advocate for patients and I know that patients generally get better care when doctors can get their medical information instantly. But that’s only the beginning of this bill."

Democrats hope that congressional negotiators will produce a quick agreement on the stimulus so that the House can vote on it Thursday and the Senate over the weekend. McCaughey would prefer they move more slowly.

“These provisions are so serious that they deserve debate in Congress and among the public as well. We’ve been deprived of that opportunity," she said.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 11, 2009; 2:32 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Eye Opener: Feb. 11, 2009
Next: Republicans Continue to Hammer White House Over Census


We need to make the health care system work better for everyone, and that
means tackling tough issues like how we provide coverage to all, addressing
the cost of care, improving quality and reforming delivery systems. The
health care provisions in the economic stimulus bill are a good start on the
road to reform.

The Bloomberg op-ed mischaracterizes several health care provisions in the
Senate-passed economic stimulus bill, and readers can check out the AMA's
review here:

The AMA supported the bill's significant investment in health information
technology (HIT) and its focus on addressing the health care needs of the
poor and recently unemployed. We are optimistic about the promise HIT holds
for increasing patient safety, improving care coordination between multiple
physicians and reducing unnecessary paper work. To set the record straight,
the stimulus bill will promote the development of a national HIT
infrastructure and build on existing federal efforts to encourage HIT
adoption and use. These are goals that have been embraced by Newt Gingrich,
former HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and leaders at the top health care
institutions in the country. The bill will create important national HIT
interoperability standards and provide significant financial assistance
directly to physicians so that this investment makes sense for their
patients and their practices.

J. James Rohack, M.D.
AMA President-elect

Posted by: AmericanMedicalAssociation | February 12, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I think the government should set the policy up for bids, review the top packages and request that the bidders present their software to the appropriate committee before the end of the year.

Posted by: desertbrown | February 12, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company