Surprise: HHS drops plan to snoop on doctors

posted at 8:01 pm on June 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

A follow-up to Ed’s post from yesterday. No worries: The program’s not really dead, it’s just … resting. It’ll be back in a few years, once ObamaCare goes into effect and millions more Boomers have landed on the Medicare rolls. That’s when the doctor shortage will really begin to bite.

“After reviewing feedback received during the public comment period, we have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” an HHS official said in a statement.

Instead, according to the statement, the government would focus on improving access to primary care in other ways, including an emphasis on training new practitioners and encouraging providers to practice in underserved areas. The Obama administration is also working on a plan to offer better payments to providers…

In 2014, the Affordable Care Act will provide insurance coverage to millions more Americans, in part by expanding eligibility for Medicaid, which experts believe will place a much greater burden on the health care system unless problems surrounding the availability of care are addressed. The findings from the “mystery shopper” initiative could have helped determine where the biggest problems lie.

“My guess is that it will find that Medicare patients have some problems, but that Medicaid patients have very big problems getting doctors, especially in states with low reimbursement rates,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

It was silly to float something like this at a moment of high anxiety about U.S. health care. The GOP’s pounding the table about the threat from ObamaCare, the Democrats are pounding the table about the threat to Medicare, and voters are jittery about how it’ll shake out. To toss government “secret agents” into the mix makes things more volatile. They’ll revisit this circa 2014, once there’s more certainty about which way health-care reform is headed and public disgruntlement about wait times to see a doctor is starting to grow. There’s precedent for it, in fact: Ed suggested yesterday that secret shoppers are a hallmark of private industry, not federal inspectors, but the DOJ does use them in limited circumstances to police for discrimination, most notably in the realm of housing. Their mandate in that case is the Fair Housing Act; for doctor-snooping, it’ll be ObamaCare and/or Medicare/Medicaid, once they’re amended to impose penalties on doctors who refuse to treat people covered by the programs.

Here’s Mark Kirk lowering the boom on Sebelius and Obama on the Senate floor yesterday.

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Daylight is the best disinfectant.

cynccook on June 28, 2011 at 8:07 PM

You really, really believe they won’t?

Really?

Roy Rogers on June 28, 2011 at 8:08 PM

lead balloon

cmsinaz on June 28, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Once they chase out all the physicians, tourism will go up.
Why? Because we’ll have to go to another country to see a doctor.

I heard Thailand is a pretty good stop to visit.

Kini on June 28, 2011 at 8:09 PM

I really think the Obama clan is trying to infuriate Americans. Goading them into something, or action they wouldn’t otherwise do.

That can be the only explanation for these insipid moves, and decisions. They want to create a chaos while keeping their hands clean. Then dictate for the good of the country.

Wouldn’t a stunt like this perpetuate that?

capejasmine on June 28, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Well, maybe they don’t realize that nobody trust or believe them. The end of the administration can’t come soon enough, I just wonder if the MSN or DC elite realize it. They really do pretend this guy could get re-elected. I guess I thought that, as well, six months ago. I changed my mind after talking to my 30YO, left wing, son. Even he has had enough.

whbates on June 28, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Now it is going to be really really stealthy…

d1carter on June 28, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Instead there will be a fact-finding mission to Bangladesh to determine how many of their doctors would be willing to relocate to the U.S. to replace retiring American doctors.

“You have pain in kidney? Ok, I kick you in head three times and this make thing better and you have happy day.”

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Maybe they should have just published an email address where people can report other people who aren’t sufficiently supportive of Obama.

Oh, wait… they already did that.

malclave on June 28, 2011 at 8:13 PM

whbates on June 28, 2011 at 8:12 PM

dare i hope that more will see the light?

cmsinaz on June 28, 2011 at 8:14 PM

All we have to do is watch them 24 hours a day and we’ll be fine!

PattyJ on June 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM

BREAKING: HHS Director reports being choked by Wisconsin Justice Prosser. “He came at me like a mad man!” she tearfully told a packed Soros media event. “He kept saying I had no right to snoop!”

Roy Rogers on June 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Maybe HHS should review the feedback during the public comment period regarding ObamaCare.

BKeyser on June 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM

They Lie!

Knucklehead on June 28, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Dr. Blago! Paging Dr. Blago!

“F@ck you! What’ll you give me to treat that abcess?!”

BacaDog on June 28, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Everything that is happening as a result of ObamaCare is so predictable. Privacy only matters to Dems if there is a baby they want killed or an AIDS diagnosis they want kept secret or a twitter pic they want kept between “friends”.

txmomof6 on June 28, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Do you think that filling doctor’s appointment books with PHONEY APPOINTMENTS might tend to LIMIT patient access????????????

Good Grief!

singlemalt 18 on June 28, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Wouldn’t a stunt like this perpetuate that?

capejasmine on June 28, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Chaos is their best tool. The less secure people feel the more they will look to someone who can protect them – it’s the Chicago mob way.

Plus a house divided against itself will never stand – the Citizens must be divided and redivided, pitted against each other for the government cronies to stay in power. FDR did it better than BHO & co. But its just the same thing all over again.

batterup on June 28, 2011 at 8:27 PM

OMG, adults in charge for a change. What to go, Senator Kirk!

Dandapani on June 28, 2011 at 8:27 PM

s/What/Way/ sorry for the edit above.

Dandapani on June 28, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Did a Senator from Illinois just call out that they want to know how a Chicago-based Opinion Research Center got a federally-awarded open-bid contract to perform this work (1:47)? B@lls, man! Good on ya, Kirk. This ain’t a Blago appointee for sure.

Captain Scarlet on June 28, 2011 at 8:30 PM

National Opinion Research Centre
***********************************

Our Capabilities NORC provides services that span the continuum of social science research. Our capabilities include:

Browse all Projects
Study Design
Data Collection
Analysis
Technical Assistance
Information Technology
Statistics & Methodology
==========================

http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/homepage.htm

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Sooner or later the federal government will need to enslave all medical practicioners to support their socialist dreams.

Freddy on June 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM

They can’t understand why the sheeple aren’t grateful for all the things their betters do to make the sheeple better, more productive serfs citizens.

Wethal on June 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM

“After reviewing feedback received during the public comment period, we have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project

Translation: We got our heads handed to us, so we’re running for cover.

GarandFan on June 28, 2011 at 8:37 PM

You Spy!

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 8:37 PM

That’ll keep those evil, greedy docs on their toes, knowing that any given patient could be a government snitch….er……shopper.

justltl on June 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Big Sister a Snoopith!
———————–

U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors
June 27 2011
**************

Federal officials said the initial survey would cost $347,370. Dr. Hogue said the money could be better spent on the training or reimbursement of primary care doctors. The White House defended the survey, saying a similar technique had been used on a smaller scale in President George W. Bush’s administration.

http://www.bioethicsinternational.org/blog/2011/06/27/u-s-plans-stealth-survey-on-access-to-doctors/

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Sooner or later the federal government will need to enslave all medical practicioners to support their socialist dreams.

Freddy on June 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM

I expect they will force the states, by conditioning federal funds on it, to make a medical license contingent on complying with all federal directives on accepting Obamacare patients, regulations and fees.

Wethal on June 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Out:Birthers

In:Snooper’ers

Government sponsered to boot!!

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 8:40 PM

National Opinion Research Center
*********************************

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Opinion_Research_Center

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Really makes you wonder what else they are up to.

CW on June 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Well,now were talking,agenda driven,maybe!!
==========================================

Florida Ballots Project
*************************

Re-examined the approximately 180,000 uncounted ballots in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election.[1] NORC was featured in Orwell Rolls in His Grave.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Opinion_Research_Center

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Knucklehead on June 28, 2011 at 8:19 PM

I agree, they will rename it, fund it and then savage doctors who can’t afford to work for nothing will filling out 40 pages per patient.

Cindy Munford on June 28, 2011 at 8:46 PM

“Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp. Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor’s fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can’t socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.” —Ronald Reagan

Speakup on June 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Sen. Mark Kirk, I tip my hat to you for raising very serious questions about the ethics and fiscal responsibility that this stealth survey was attempting. You are to be commended for watchdogging the unconstitutional activities of HHS.

onlineanalyst on June 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Research project? Can’t just call a spade, a spade. Throwing out a few Gubmit bureaucrats to see if Gubmit works better might be a good research project. All in, say “ayyyyyyyyyyy”.

Robert17 on June 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM

it’ll be ObamaCare and/or Medicare/Medicaid, once they’re amended to impose penalties on doctors who refuse to treat people covered by the programs.

How many patients do they think they can force doctors to treat at a loss? And if the government believes it has the authority to force doctors to work for less than cost, then why can’t the government also force lawyers and architects and engineers and other expensive professionals to work for X number of clients who also can’t pay, or can pay only a nominal amount?

AZCoyote on June 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

“You have pain in kidney? Ok, I kick you in head three times and this make thing better and you have happy day.”

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 8:12 PM

or bring in Chinese acupuncturists. Mothers have been known to go back into the rice paddies the very next day after delivering their babies.

AH_C on June 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Its absolutely amazing to me that there aren’t crowds with pitchforks and torches marching on the Whitehouse.

I’ve never been so scared of my government. In fact, contrary to Moochelle Obozo, the last 2.5 years is the first time in my adult life that I am ashamed of my country.

I can’t even imagine the feelings of betrayal my WWII era family members would be feeling if they were alive today.

KMC1 on June 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

HHS drops plan to snoop on Doctors…HHS drops waivers for Obamacare.

The real solution is to drop Obamacare completely!

wren on June 28, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Nixon was a piker.

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Hopey is Pulling Out!!
======================

Obama Administration Pulls the Plug on Stealth Survey of Doctors
June 28, 2011
****************

The Obama administration has decided to pull the plug on the so-called mystery shoppers who were going to covertly phone doctors across the country in an effort to gauge shortages in primary care physicians that critics say are linked to the president’s health care law.

The proposed study was still in the planning stages, but was intended to address what the administration called a “critical public policy problem.” First revealed to the public Monday by the New York Times, the mystery shoppers were to call medical practices posing as a patient, then ask about accepted insurance providers and wait times to see a doctor.

As the news came out, the White House was attacked by doctors and critics as being “creepy” and wreaking of Big Brother tactics.
(More….)

Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/06/28/obama-administration-pulls-plug-stealth-survey-doctors#ixzz1Qce4mBYk

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Alternate Headline: GOP Stops Obama Spy Program

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Its absolutely amazing to me that there aren’t crowds with pitchforks and torches marching on the Whitehouse.

I’ve never been so scared of my government. In fact, contrary to Moochelle Obozo, the last 2.5 years is the first time in my adult life that I am ashamed of my country.

I can’t even imagine the feelings of betrayal my WWII era family members would be feeling if they were alive today.

KMC1 on June 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Tell me about it. My dad fought in WWII. I grew up being told by teachers in public schools the dangers of fascism. I remember a social studies teacher saying how Hitler said “Give me the textbooks and I will control the nation.” or something like that. I remember discussion with friends about how great America was compared to other countries. How powerful we were.

I wasn’t anything special as a teen, but I can clearly remember in school that it was all just assumed America was a great and free country. That communism was just accepted as evil and wrong. But today, the things I am witnessing are truly Orwellian. They are truly Fascist. Not because I’ve been told to think that by some wacko on the internet but because I have lived and seen the changes in my country from the time I was a teenager. And I know how my father would respond today. Frankly, I’m glad he’s not alive to see it all. He always warned about the dangers that FDR started.
Heck, I remember clearly being taught the greatness of Western Civilization. Western Civ was special. Now, we’re all equal…. all of us except them. Them being, the ruling class. That’s why they need to spy on the doctors. Doctors are not the ruling class. They can’t be trusted. Only government can be trusted.
It’s unbelievable, but it is so true, liberty is not lost all at once. Is a gradual slope until one day it is just too late.

JellyToast on June 28, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Well,taking a peek inside their site,(NORC),and
it sure appears to be in deep with all kinds of
Governmental Programs.

Must be alot of Government cash,pouring into this
Progressive/Socialist Pointy headed types organiz
ation!!

Sounds like (NORC) could use a Audit,and an INVESTIGATION
to see how DEEP THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONNECTIONS are in
to this Lefty Think Tank!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Alternate Headline: GOP Stops Obama Spy Program

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 9:11 PM

faraway:This reeks to high heaven,so to speak!:)

canopfor on June 28, 2011 at 9:25 PM

JellyToast on June 28, 2011 at 9:20 PM

I completely understand and agree with you.

I remember my relatives from that era, they were honest and hard working folks. A real sense of family values, and of personal integrity and honor.

I look at my peers; everything is someone else’s fault, if someone is doing well they’re “lucky” and “fortunate” – NO discussion about life choices or work ethic…. ZERO personal responsibility. ZERO.

The entitlement mentality will be the death of freedom if we don’t put an end to it. “Liberals” sure the he’ll can’t be trusted with our freedom.

KMC1 on June 28, 2011 at 9:45 PM

“My guess is that it will find that Medicare patients have some problems, but that Medicaid patients have very big problems getting doctors, especially in states with low reimbursement rates,”

Well, no sh*# there, Sherlock.

humdinger on June 28, 2011 at 10:35 PM

It’s fraud for crying out loud. With an actual asset stolen from primary care practices. It’s just amazing to me that they floated this idea at all. Tells us how low the intellect pool has become.

Murf76 on June 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM

HHS drops plan to snoop on doctors

QUESTION: Which lie are we supposed to believe???

landlines on June 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Democrat/Liberal/Progressive Gameplan

1. Propose something unreasonable and stupid.
2. In the face of public outcry, cancel proposal from Step 1 to appear reasonable.
3. Have your lackeys in the Press publish poll after poll showing that the original idea from Step 1 is actually popular. And find “experts” to talk about how great an idea it was.
4. Try it all over again in a few years and hope to hell people forget how unreasonable and stupid it was the first time around.
5. Profit!

Left Coast Right Mind on June 28, 2011 at 11:26 PM

impose penalties on doctors who refuse to treat people covered by the programs.

Is there an exception in the Thirteenth Amendment which allows the Federal Government to force doctors to treat patients and be forced to accept payments for less than the doctor’s cost of doing business?

Medicaid and Medicare are hidden taxes which force up the charges to patients who are covered by private medical insurance.

slp on June 29, 2011 at 12:11 AM

humdinger on June 28, 2011 at 10:35 PM

Yep. Unfrickinbelievable isn’t it?!

KMC1 on June 29, 2011 at 12:24 AM

Anyone who believes this is at an end is a fool. It will be passed on. Most likely to CDC or FDA.

pat on June 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM

WOW! After reading Sen. Kirk’s letter, this “secret gestapo shopper” train already started rolling down the tracks with a contract award to an opinion research company. It had to be a helluva lot easier to issue a stop order on the contract than to answer the questions in Kirk’s letter.

olesparkie on June 29, 2011 at 7:46 AM

I keep waiting for news footage of Sebelius, wearing striped, red and white socks and ruby slippers, stuck underneath a house that has fallen from the sky in her native Kansas.

Jaibones on June 29, 2011 at 8:55 AM

It’s called “meaningful use” and it’s coming to a doctor and health care facility near you. Be afraid, very afraid.

https://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/30_Meaningful_Use.asp

roux on June 29, 2011 at 9:05 AM

HHS drops plan to snoop on doctors

QUESTION: Which lie are we supposed to believe???

landlines on June 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM

That says it all. We no longer can trust = in many cases, should trust = “our” government.

I agree with other comments here and that is that what we have today is not the America most of us were raised to know, but another form of dictatorial, oppressive government that does not work for us, rather, we, apparently, are subjected to.

Political parties – via “government” access – have long hacked medical records to try to find something they can distort and use to discredit opponents or just any random American they opt to ruin. It’s quite likely not changed, it’s just adopted a new permuation, like ACORN.

Lourdes on June 29, 2011 at 9:06 AM

It’s called “meaningful use” and it’s coming to a doctor and health care facility near you. Be afraid, very afraid.

https://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/30_Meaningful_Use.asp

roux on June 29, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Obviously, the day when someone saw a doctor over what they assumed was a private concern are long gone: for that someone AND the doctor.

Medical records in general are no longer privileged information and neither is what care one receives — or what is medically appropriate, worse. See a doctor, see a person obligated to deliver *just what he/she is told to provide* and not what they learned is medically required in their education.

Nothing is private any longer, and this should not be.

Lourdes on June 29, 2011 at 9:10 AM

BTW, private practice will soon be a thing of the past.
Docs, for the most part, will be employees of hospitals.
Cost cutting measures will be up to the hospitals.
Hospitals will do this by requiring docs to adhere to treatment protocols and by eliminating docs who fall outside certain parameters involving length of stay, cost, mortality, re-admission rate, etc.
Much of the day to day care will be provided by nurse practitioners.

As the money dries up, the level of care will decrease- expensive studies such as MRIs will be restricted. Expensive meds or treatments will disappear. Restrictions will be applied to evaluation and treatment based on age, prognosis and demographic factors.

It will be a brave new medical world, comrades.

justltl on June 29, 2011 at 9:50 AM

So is outing this stealthy program at this point in addition to the Fast & Furious cluster**ck, or is this meant to distract us from F&F?

scituate_tgr on June 29, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Oh, and hospitals will, of course, not decline patients based on who is the insurance payor. They will, however, find ways to ‘game’ the system, e.g., transferring patients to other hospitals for various reasons, not all based on strictly medical considerations. Moochelle and the University of Chicago would know all about these kind of techniques.

justltl on June 29, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Palliative Care and Hospice Care will be booming businesses.

justltl on June 29, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Waiting times to see the hospital owned primary care docs and hospital owned specialists will simply be what it will be.

justltl on June 29, 2011 at 10:17 AM