by Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2011 12:21 pm
Did Obama’s medical record czar, Judy Faulkner, hoodwink five members of Congress into pushing her own medical records company as the solution for the problem of electronic medical records for all government contracts? That’s what some wonder as Obama’s search for an electronic medical records solution evolves.
In a likely earnest effort to bring jobs to Wisconsin and help improve the fortunes of a home state company, five members of Congress signed onto a letter urging the Department of Defense to seriously consider EPIC Systems medical records computer architecture. (Download PDF of letter)
The letter, signed by Wisconsin Senators Herb Kohl (D) and Ron Johnson (R), as well as Representatives Paul Ryan (R), Tammy Baldwin (D), and Ron Kind (D), was written some two years after EPIC Systems CEO, Judith Faulkner was appointed (April 3, 2009) to Obama’s Health Information Technology Policy Committee. This is a committee established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will, “make recommendations on creating a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure,” for electronic medical records.
So, EPIC Systems bigwig Faulkner was somehow able to convince these members of Congress to sign onto a letter that seems to push her own company’s medical records system. Seems just a bit self serving, doesn’t it? To have one of Obama’s medical records czars pushing her own system on the government so that government can adopt her system and she can make billions of dollars?
Also, how is it that a woman that stands to make billions if the government adopts her company’s product can get on the very committee that is making recommendations for the country’s electronic medical records system, anyway?
Is it that she is a huge Obama donor?
There are quite a few questions, here. But the big question is, what was the intention of these members of Congress? What was the real point of the letter urging EPIC Systems into serious consideration?
I contacted each of these member’s offices, got a return call from three of them, but only one actually gave me a quote. That one was conservative favorite Paul Ryan.
Ryan’s spokesman told me that the congressman had no intention to push only the EPIC system as the sole solution to the medical records problem, but only that the government should be sure and consider it as one of the systems to be evaluated. He pointed out that the letter does not say “we should adopt EPIC.”
True enough. But the mystery still remains: how did an organization that allegedly has no lobbyists get 5 members of Congress to sign a letter that implicitly supports its product?
Of course, an even bigger consideration here is a matter of Obama once again imagining he should have the power to pick winners and losers instead of allowing the market to choose. If the market were to choose EPIC as a standardized electronic medical records solution for the nation, then so be it. But here we go again having another one of Obama’s all powerful committees deciding what all of us will be forced to live with.
Naturally, Obama stuffed his committee with bog donors.
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