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Monday, August 26, 2013

Health IT down the drain

Billions wasted on fruitless bid to create paperless vet health records

By Hannah Winston, News 21

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense spent at least $1.3 billion during the last four years trying unsuccessfully to develop a single electronic health-records system between the two departments — leaving veterans’ disability claims piling up in paper files, a News21 investigation shows.

This does not include billions of dollars wasted during the last three decades, including $2 billion spent on a failed upgrade to the DOD’s existing electronic health-records system.
For a veteran in the disability claims process, these records are critical: They include DOD service and health records needed by the VA to decide veterans’ disability ratings and the compensation they will receive for their injuries.

Although Congress repeatedly has demanded an “integrated” and “interoperable” electronic health-records system, neither the DOD nor the VA is able to completely access the other’s electronic records. Meanwhile, each has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrades to its information technology and on attempts to improve interoperability between their systems.

At a July congressional hearing, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said he was disappointed and frustrated.  “The only thing interoperable we get are the litany of excuses flying across both departments every year as to why it has taken so long to get this done,” said Miller, the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee...

But wait! There's more!
Behemoth breach sounds alarm for 4M
Advocate Health reports second biggest HIPAA breach ever
DOWNERS GROVE, IL | August 26, 2013

Advocate Health System announced that the theft occurred at one of its Advocate Medical Group administrative building in Park Ridge, Ill. on July 15. Patient names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and clinical information – including physician, medical diagnoses, medical record numbers and health insurance data — were all contained on the computers, officials say.

Health system officials have contacted local law enforcement to investigate the incident but have been unable to locate the computers.

"We deeply regret that this incident has occurred," wrote Kevin McCune, MD, chief medical officer of Advocate Medical Group, in an Aug. 23 letter mailed to affected patients. "In order to prevent such an incident from reoccurring, we have enhanced our security measures and are conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures."...
"...we have enhanced our security measures and are conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures"?

Really? After the fact? Seriously? To determine, say, whether they were HIPAA Omnibus-compliant one month out of the deadline?

How much actual healthcare money has to be foregone in the service of all this incompetence?


Republican hardliners are pushing GOP senators to sign a stunt "pledge" to "defund Obamacare."

Well, I screen-scraped the current status tally off their website and droped it into Excel.

There are 47 GOP Senators. 14 have signed, 9 have stated that they will not, and 24 are tiptoeing past the graveyard.

Boys, you don't have the votes, and are not going to get them. The House is all Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing. Without a 60 vote Senate supermajority, the "defund" effort is finished before it starts.

While this circus will surely continue until September 30th, you are not going to succeed. "Government shutdown / federal debt default" prospects notwithstanding.

What they're really after is your money. To "sign the petition" you have to give a name and email address. I signed in as "Barack Obama" (I can't believe they don't screen this out).

Which takes you straight to their donation page.

Fleecing the rubes. Talk about money down the drain. My August 20th take on "Defunding ObamaCare" here.

More to come...

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