Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Editorials -

“A post-bill-sign­ing govern­ment anal­y­sis says Amer­i­cans are on the hook for an­other $311 bil­lion in health costs over the next decade be­cause of the new law. … Who to blame? That’s easy: The Democrats. And the Repub­li­cans. … Yes, the Dems re­cently passed a mas­sive health­care ex­pan­sion with­out a sin­gle Repub­li­can vote, as the GOP will hap­pily re­mind vot­ers in the fall. But that Demo­cratic ex­pan­sion we can’t af­ford is piled atop a Repub­li­can ex­pan­sion we couldn’t af­ford in 2003. … Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush tossed down the open­ing ante with a $410 bil­lion Medi­care pre­scrip­tion drug ben­e­fit. … Democrats and Repub­li­cans in Washington are united on health­care re­form in one way. They both like to spend money we don’t have.”

—Chicago Tribune “Pro­tect­ing pa­tients’ pri­vate med­i­cal records ought to be a pri­or­ity of ev­ery health­care agency, but vi­o­la­tions are not un­com­mon. The Times re­ported an­other lo­cal ex­am­ple in March, when a St. Peters­burg stor­age fa­cil­ity was pre­par­ing to auc­tion the con­tents of a self-stor­age unit, in­clud­ing boxed med­i­cal records left by a doc­tor who didn’t pay her bill. … One of the short­com­ings of HIPAA is that it isn’t spe­cific enough about how com­plaints of vi­o­la­tions should be han­dled. HHS’ rules should fill that gap. And ev­ery med­i­cal fa­cil­ity and pri­vate com­pany that deals with pa­tient records should train their staffs to re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately to com­plaints. … Al­low­ing pri­vate med­i­cal records to con­tinue to go astray is not just il­le­gal. It is a be­trayal of pa­tients’ trust.”

— St.Peters­burg (Fla.) Times “Ac­cord­ing to a na­tional sur­vey re­ported in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine last year, just 1.5% of hos­pi­tals and 4% of doc­tors’ prac­tices meet that stan­dard. These fig­ures are dis­cour­ag­ing. Elec­tronic records will pre­vent er­rors, im­prove di­ag­nos­tic work, avoid du­pli­ca­tion of tests and pro­ce­dures, and sim­plify clin­i­cal stud­ies. A po­tent elixir for many of the health­care sys­tem’s ills, they de­serve ev­ery push the fed­eral govern­ment can give them. But the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity be­longs to the doc­tors and hos­pi­tals who are putting their own habits ahead of the clearly demon­strated needs of their pa­tients—and of the tax­pay­ers who foot the cost of many med­i­cal bills.”

—Bos­ton Globe

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