Another ObamaCare ‘Glitch’: $30B blown on non-operational medical record system

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The rollout of ObamaCare has been plagued by problems these past two weeks, as thousands complained they couldn’t sign up for coverage due to a deeply defective website.

But this process could have been easier if a nine-year, government-backed effort to set up a system of electronic medical records had gotten off the ground. Instead of setting up their medical ID for the first time, would-be customers would have their records already on file.

Unfortunately for patients — and taxpayers — the long-running project has produced tangibly few results despite costing the government, so far, at least $30 billion.

Under a George W. Bush-era executive order, all Americans should have access to their medical records by the end of 2014, part of a concept referred to as e-health. President Obama then made electronic medical records (EMRs) central to the success of the Affordable Care Act

Health care IT providers were tasked with creating a system connecting patients, health care professionals, hospitals, laboratories and medical facilities. But despite being paid vast incentives by the government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), they’ve dragged their feet.

Doctors have so far received $14 billion in sweeteners, and hospitals have been handed more than $16 billion. Officials indicate that incentives could eventually reach $45 billion, though there is no universally integrated system anywhere in sight.

Taxpayers lose here, but so do patients.

The system, if and when it is operational, could prove invaluable in an emergency. Consider a person being rushed to the ER, with the hospital having no knowledge of the individual apart from the name on their driver’s license. The medical records system would immediately produce that individual’s private medical history, helping doctors determine treatment right away.

Doctors, practitioners and hospitals, though, have been enriching themselves with the incentives to install electronic medical records systems that are either not inter-operable or highly limited in their crossover with other providers.

“The electronic medical records system has been funded to hospitals at more than $1 billion per month. Apparently little or none of that money went to the enrollment process which is where the bottle neck for signing up to ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges appears to be,” Robert Lorsch, a Los Angeles-based IT entrepreneur and chief executive of online medical records provider MMRGlobal, told Fox News.

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