Obama's Electronic Health Records Czar: HIV Status and Abortions Need Not be Included

By Matt Cover, Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – Dr. David Blumenthal, the Obama administration’s National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, said on Tuesday that patients can choose to omit procedures such as abortions and positive HIV tests from the electronic health records (EHR) that every American is supposed to have by 2014 under the terms of the economic stimulus law that President Barack Obama signed last year.

Blumenthal’s office, a subdivision of the Department of Health and Human Services, was created by the stimulus law specifically to generate the standards and regulations that will govern the federally mandated use of EHRs.

Section 3001 of the stimulus law charges the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology with overseeing the “development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information” that, among other things, “reduces health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical errors, inappropriate care, duplicative care, and incomplete information” and “provides appropriate information to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care.”

The law requires Blumenthal’s office to set “specific objectives, milestones, and metrics with respect to the  following: (i) The electronic exchange and use of health information and the enterprise integration of such information. (ii) The utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.”

In order to get hospitals, doctors and other health care providers to comply with the creation of EHRs for “each person in the United States by 2014,” the stimulus law provided for federal bonus payments to be made to providers who generate records complying with the federal standards by 2014. Health care providers that do not use EHRs that meet the federal standards by 2014 will have their Medicare and Medicaid payments progressively diminished as a penalty for failure to comply.

To read more, visit:http://cnsnews.com/news/article/69743

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