Reason Writers on Varney & Co.: Matt Welch Talks Digital Medical Records on Fox Business Network


On Friday, May 6, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch dropped by the set of FBN's Varney & Co. to discuss fears that nationalized standards are going to put the government in charge of your online medical records. Here it is:

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  1. I don’t think the government will be in charge, but they will have great influence. That’s already the case with something called Meaningful Use (MU). It’s a carrot/stick approach. Right now the government is offering monatary incentives to providers to use a MU certified Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Starting in 2014, I think, the stick kicks in and providers not using an MU certified EMR will pay a penalty. Of course, this applies to Medicare payments.

    1. Meaningful Use will probably result in more barriers to entry for small medical enterprises- ie, family clinics and the like, forcing the merging of smaller clinical outfits that simply can’t afford to achieve the goals.

  2. What medical secrets do all these people have to hide? For this interview I think Matt should have been wearing one of those bird flu masks so popular with the Japanese.

    It doesn’t matter, anyway. HIPAA will protect all your medical records. It’s the law.

    1. “”HIPAA will protect all your medical records. It’s the law.””

      Snark or serious? I can’t tell.

      There are many exceptions to HIPAA.

      But the HIPAA protected data is necessary for government oversight of personal health. They look at outcomes for particular health issues in a ratio. Let’s say the government wants to reduce the amount of people that smoke. They create a quality measure in the EMR, we’ll call it 211-CM Smoking Cessation. And define it this way.
      Number of patients in the denominator who received cessation intervention. Cessation intervention may include smoking cessation counseling (e.g., advise to quit, referral for counseling) and/or pharmacologic therapy in the reporting period

      Number of unique patients at least 18 years of age, seen for a visit in the reporting period, who had a smoking status of current smoker within the past 12 months from the end of the reporting period.

      The government then gives you incentives if your percentage is at or above a certain level, as part of Phase I. Then increase that percentage for each phase of the project. Now, of course that quality measure is not about getting people to quit since mere counseling is good enough to get a patient in the numerator. But it’s an example of how government can influence how doctors do business with an EMR.

      1. Snark or serious? I can’t tell.

        No one can ever tell. That’s part of my charm.

      2. but the patient who accepts the treatment is willing. Why is it an issue?

        1. “”Why is it an issue?””

          I’ll let you figure it out.

    2. The gov’t is too stupid to be trusted. The TX comptroller just left millions of peoples info on a public web server for over a year putting everyone’s identity on that list at risk for fraud and theft, that’s whats wrong with it.…..535,00.asp

      1. We will protect all of your internet data, we just need unrestricted access to it.

  3. looking sharp 🙂

  4. Honest to God, Welch is a fucking rat with glasses!

    1. Max, you need to set an example…and he is a cute little vermin 😉

      1. Does he just give off some French-chick attracting vibe or something?

  5. Thank jesus we have a moment where there’s no justifiable criticism of Reason-Staff attire. Well done. We’ve escaped Goofball April.

  6. Local hospital cans 32 people for peeking at records

    Wonder what kind of crappy union those guys had. When the IRS employees get caught doing the same thing, they don’t get fired.

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