Doctors are Becoming Government Agents

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Patient Records.  Photo by Ken Fager/Flickr.

Patient Records. Photo by Ken Fager/Flickr.

Physicians are now required to care more about billing codes than your personal care.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, 16 April 2015

By Dr. James Goldberg, Author of The American Medical Money Machine: The Destruction of Healthcare in America and the Rise of Medical Tourism

That’s right; over the last few years doctors have been forced into ignoring their sacred Hippocratic Oath. The US government and the insurance mafia have put their whips into the backs of physicians. Electronic medical records (EMRs) regulations, a key component of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), require doctors to quiz patients about matters which often have nothing to do with the care of their patients.

The data which the government demands (but does not pay the doctors to collect) all merges into various government databases, namely those of the NSA, police, military, FBI, insurance companies, Medicare, hospital administrators and many entities who are deliberately exempted from participating in HIPAA.

The growing pile of problems with EMRs haven’t been lost on the legal crowd either. Lucas Mearian’s recent article, “Lawyers Smell Blood in Electronic Medical Records,” points out the potential for millions of dollars in judgments for plaintiffs suing “because the data contained in an EMR couldn’t be trusted in court.”

Your privacy is a joke. Are you laughing?

So, what does the government want to know about you?

In filing out electronic records, doctors are now forced to ask their patients if they have suicidal thoughts, own a gun, have considered homicide, belong to terrorist groups, have family members who do, are depressed, are on psychiatric medications and a list of unrelated medical questions as long as a telephone book. Much of this probing is totally irrelevant to the condition for which you are seeking treatment. But remember: no records, no pay! No, it’s not a Bob Marley song.

Should physicians fail to comply with the government mandate for these intrusive medical records, they will NOT be paid for the medical services they render. Furthermore, they may lose their medical licenses and suffer other sanctions for non-compliance with government mandates.

These governmental requirements place doctors in a position where they have to become agents of the government. They are contributing private information about you to the massive databases the government is building to probe into the backgrounds and privacy of us all. Not only has the insurance industry crushed doctors into being referred to as providers, the government uses its own criteria to determine how much a doctor will be paid, based on data which may be rotten.

The doctors are caught in a bind. Either play the game and comply with government mandates or risk not being paid. Even worse they might be sanctioned or have their licenses pulled. This is their new reality, after decades of study and dedication.

Additionally, many of our older doctors who are not tech savvy resent having to type rather than interact with the patient. The electronic record requirement steals time away from focusing their attention on the patient. This is royally resented by doctors, and many are leaving medicine rather than being government agents—or government “providers”—instead of doctors!

Garbage in, garbage out!

Completing these electronic records is cumbersome and time consuming. Often, patients lie about their private affairs leading doctors to blindly check off boxes merely to satisfy government requirements, not because the data is reliable! The problem is that this “garbage data” is employed in making clinical recommendations for treatment. So, the hidden effect of this “outcome” based model compromises the integrity of medicine and dilutes the role of the doctor from being the final judge of what treatment is best to performing as an order taker whose complex decision making process is negotiated and shaped by our governmental system.

Should they not comply; the results can be devastating for doctors. Should hospitals fail to comply, they risk their accreditation and reputations. I should also point out that the cost of implementing this mandated system is borne by the hospitals and the taxpayers. That’s bad news from a variety of perspectives.

We spend four times more per capita on healthcare than all other countries combined. Yet according to a World Health Organization study, our mortality and morbidity rating is 42nd in the world, next to Estonia.

The Cato Institute’s article, “How the Government Killed the Medical Profession” is worth a read.

Another piece of music being played in the background further emasculates doctors: Health Insurers Making Record Profits as Many Postpone Care. This is bad medicine for the patients, doctors and the country.

While the government has stepped into the most sacred professional relationship between doctor and patient, our system—and the quality of—US medical care continues to decline. The intrusion of the government into medicine has been an unmitigated disaster. The future seems to be even bleaker as doctors are pushed further down and suppressed, all thanks to Obamacare.

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  • DocLee

    What a bullshit article.

  • TAMMM Admin

    Thanks for sharing. Please feel free to expand on your opinion, or not.

    • DocLee

      It’s not an opinion. It’s a fact. The article is BS. First off, electronic medical records are not a key component of the ACA. They were a part of ARRA. The words “medical record” pop up in the ACA only 4 times. Electronic health records only pops up 8 times. Electronic health records do not merge into various government databases and yes, they are, in fact, protected under HIPAA (not HIPPA) provisions. No place do EHR laws and regulations require a physician to ask a patient whether they had suicidal thoughts, own a gun, considered a homicide, etc. These fall under the incentive program to assess meaningful use. If a physician or facility chose to participate in this program, they received an incentive payout on top of their normal Medicare or Medicaid fee. None of this applies to private insurance or physicians that are cash only unless a state specifically legislated it (such as Minnesota). Under no circumstance can a physician or hospital lose their license or accreditation. This entire article is nothing more than poorly research conspiracy theory and bullshit.

      • TAMMM Admin

        1. Please excuse the typo regarding HIPPA v. HIPAA.

        2. How do you define Meaningful Use? An HHS quoted definition of the current law would be helpful for you to quote.

        3. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Refer to this: http://www.hitechanswers.net/about/about-arra/

        4. Refer to this statement by Jeffrey A. Singer: “The debate over ObamaCare has obscured another important example of government meddling in medicine. Starting this year, physicians like myself who treat Medicare patients must adopt electronic health records, known as EHRs, which are digital versions of a patient’s paper charts. If doctors do not comply, our reimbursement rates will be cut by 1%, rising to a maximum of 5% by the end of the decade.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/jeffrey-a-singer-obamacares-electronic-records-debacle-1424133213

        5. The incentive program for those who do participate, as you admit, does fall under the ARRA, or Meaningful Use. The flip side of receiving incentives is to receive penalties for non-compliance: depending on which generation of HHS regulations and Congressional manipulations you read, these penalties can range from 1 percent to 95 percent of reimbursement rates.

        6. Cash only payments, you are correct, are exempted.

        7. If a hospital or physician has chosen to participate but does not, the penalties imposed could have the effect of destroying the economic viability of the hospital or physician’s practice.

        8. What you need to focus on, with respect to the consolidation of information into a master database, is the Patriot Act! This empowers the government to do whatever they feel is necessary to protect national security, and that’s however THEY choose to define it.

        9. Compliance with EMR is mandatory as of 2015.

        10. Refer to this legislation which is a close cousin of the Patriot Act. This is the Consular Consolidated Database act. Read it and weep. http://foia.state.gov/_docs/PIA/ConsularConsolidatedDatabase_CCD.pdf

        11. The NSA is building the largest spy center in the world. Data is drawn from any and all government sources and those which the government deems necessary to be incorporated in their master data center. And this center is only one of many. http://www.wired.com/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

        12. Also, you may wish to refer to this page in the book Legal Medicine by Shafeek S. Sanbar. http://bit.ly/1HMMVAx

        13. This bit of historical information on CNET in 2008 suggested where the government was headed. With the Patriot Act in place, they have the weight of law to do as they wish, medical records included.
        http://www.cnet.com/news/feds-propose-consolidation-of-personal-info-in-databases/

        14. The amount of literature and references available on this subject is staggering. It supports what you disrespectfully refer to as my bullshit.

        15. The government granted the Joint Commission extraordinary powers in the Medicare Act of 1965 under Lyndon Johnson. This act, a revision of the Social Security Act of 1935 gave the Joint Commission the ability to set standards and enforce those standards: including suspension, revocation, sanctions and dismissal from any Federally funded programs for violations which the Joint Commission and the HHS (then, HEW). Since most hospitals depend on 50 percent of their revenue coming from the Feds, they have the power to shut down those providers who do not comply: i.e. No Medicare, no hospital. No supply of records, no dollars! Is that clear enough for you to understand?

        It appears that you are practicing privately: stay there. It should keep you safe, for a while, from the ax that is about to fall on the heads of all doctors and sadly, their patients.

        DocLee, I wish it was bullshit. Despite the points that you make, you fail to appreciate the context of how the Federal Government is closing in on every aspect of our society. Medical data is one of several key components required to make their collection and consolidation complete. With the suspension of the Glass Stegal Act of 1935, Wall Street and the big banks have made a fortune, while the public has been stuck with billions of worthless paper AND the pleasure of PAYING for the Government’s mistake for letting these criminals run wild.

        Poor research you say? I don’t think so. Poor understanding of our body politic and the totalitarian steps the government is taking to tighten the noose around the public neck is either a matter of your ignorance of the facts, or that you, my dear DocLee, are the one filled with fecal misinformation.

        Thank you for your response. Now it’s time for you to do your homework.

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