Up next at Information Therapy was Claudia Williams from Markle introducing Kavita Patel, Ted Kennedy’s staffer from the Health (et al) Senate sub-committee, and Joel White, a former Republican staffer now running the Health IT Now coalition. There was far too much agreement between Kavita and Joel for my liking!
Essentially they both agreed that the Federal government should pay something for Health IT, and Joel said that actually HHS is piloting spending up to $56,000 per physician to buy medical records.
Joel seemed OK with this—and like Newt Gingrich—seems to be OK with socialist mandates as the way to provide IT (that is, the government paying). On the other hand, Kavita wasn’t sure that the Feds should pay for everything and maybe the states and even consumers should be paying something. So I for one now don’t understand where ideology has gone in health politics!
But they were both confident that bipartisan legislation will pass encouraging Health IT (such as ePrescribing) via Medicare and other programs in the next Congress (but not this one) but both were a little concerned about the incentives problem. As Claudia said, Health IT leads to better quality, but Health IT won’t be widespread without a change in incentives.
CODA: Meanwhile and somewhat off topic, at the end Joel, (who’s now a fellow at Galen with Grace Marie Turner to give you a hint), went off on a rant about what was wrong with comparative effectiveness research. He recited PhRMA’s lines pretty well, but ran away before the mass ranks of Kaiser attendees surrounded him and pecked him to death. If you want to see some of the controversy about who has what to say about comparative effectiveness, look at what Merrill Goozner said about it last year.