TECH/POLICY: Disability and PHRs

David Stapleton (from Cornell Univ Inst for Policy Research) is here to talk about disability. He says that we spend over $200bn on disability (via Medicare, SSI, and Medicaid) and the process of getting people onto disability is totally broken (Determination takes forever, and appeals take even longer). Much of that problem is due to the fact that there is no easy access to the medical record, and then if they actually get the record, figuring out what’s in it is hard, and the information may be biased because the provider is somehow colluding with the applicant (Imagine that in health care!), or applicants may withhold information early, and then produce it later. (If you let the consumer have control of the PHR, then they’ll fix the record to make it favorable to them to qualify for SSI!)

So if there was national PHR then the applicants could give these records out and they’d theoretically be available, accurate and complete! But funnily enough he thinks that disability is not the right place to target EHR development…and given the complications in that part of the world….yup! So why is he here? This conference (and in fact the sponsor of the center) are from a disability management company, hence the role of disability is coming up more than you might suspect! Still it’s a pretty interesting part of the system that we don’t hear about much, and it takes a lot of dollars. And if there was a national, reliable PHR with adaquate rules to get into it — and people trusted the government which Helga Rippen just told us they don’t — then management of the disabled population across programs could dramatically benefit in many ways, but we’re not holding our breath!

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