Say… do you remember one part of the stimulus bill that was going to implement electronic medical record systems at health care facilities? Wasn’t that supposed to create a more efficient system, less prone to errors and reduce costs for health care? I’m almost sure I read something about that someplace. So… how’s that working out so far? If the University of Mississippi Medical Center is any sort of measuring stick, the law of unintended consequences may be in play. They just laid off 115 of their workers. They list several reasons and – as usual – you’ll need to read well down toward the bottom of the article to find it, but it’s there.
Wednesday’s layoff of 115 University of Mississippi Medical Center employees and not filling another 90 positions will save $12 million annually, the vice chancellor for health affairs predicts.
UMC’s finances were in the red last year, a predicament that motivated the staff reduction, Dr. James Keeton said…
Additionally, the hospital must spend $80 million over the next five years to put in place electronic health care records to comply with a federal mandate. UMC will get most of the money back from the government if the system is implemented by 2016, Keeton said. He hopes to have it in place this summer.
Getting “most of the money” back four years from now is apparently cold comfort to facilities running in the red today. And UMC isn’t the only one. The Nassau University Medical Center in New York is also laying off workers. They aren’t just investing in the new electronic records requirements, but eying the fact that Obamacare will be reducing their Medicare reimbursement each year going forward as their legacy public worker pension costs continue to rise.
Warner Todd Huston thinks he smells a rat in all this.
Last week, layoffs were announced in Mississippi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center due in part to the 80 million dollars that it will cost to implement a new computer system named EPIC Systems, Obama’s newly mandated electronic medical records system.
Naturally, the system Obama is forcing on an entire nation of medical professionals and hospitals is the same system owned and operated by Judith Faulkner, one of his own big donors. Faulkner is also a big donor to the Democrat Party. Not surprisingly, besides affording her the lucrative, crony capitalist business deal, Obama also put Faulkner in a key role on the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, the committee responsible for implementing the President’s e-records policy. She has become known as Obama’s medical records czar.
As hospitals and doctors are forced to launch their own EPIC Systems portals, the costs are forcing hard choices for administrators. All to implement what many call a flawed system.
Most of the attention these days seems to be focused on the individual mandate and the upcoming battle in the Supreme Court. This story should highlight the fact that there are many more layers to the onion of Obamacare and government intervention in the health care system, and some of them are already producing results. Just not the results you were promised.