Michael J. Fox got a rous­ing re­cep­tion at HIMSS,

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page -

Dr. David Blu­men­thal, the hard-work­ing and per­son­able out­go­ing head of the Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, gave one of the key­note speeches at the Health­care In­for­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems So­ci­ety con­fer­ence in Or­lando, Fla. last week. So did comedic ac­tor and phi­lan­thropist Michael J. Fox. Only a cou­ple dozen of the about 1,000 HIMSS at­ten­dees in the air­plane-hangar sized hall where Blu­men­thal spoke rose to ap­plaud his ar­rival on stage. None stood to clap when the good doc­tor left.

Fox, in con­trast, was greeted warmly by three long, vir­tu­ally unan­i­mous stand­ing ova­tions—when he ar­rived, when he fin­ished his speech and again af­ter the ques­tio­nand-an­swer session. And HIMSS gave his Michael J. Fox Foun­da­tion for Parkin­son’s Re­search a check for $5,000.

Is there a les­son to be learned from these facts? Maybe it’s this:

If you’re a love­able movie and TV star, af­flicted at an early age with Parkin­son’s disease, de­vote your­self to med­i­cal re­search to find a cure, and you still make peo­ple laugh with self-dep­re­cat­ing jokes, peo­ple will pour money and love all over you.

But if you’re an aca­demic physi­cian, de­vote two years of your ca­reer to gov­ern­ment ser­vice, much of it by telling an en­tire in­dus­try, “You should work your col­lec­tive butts off over a six-year pe­riod jump­ing through hoops to get fed­eral in­cen­tive pay­ments, and, oh, by the way, if you fail, you’re go­ing to get pe­nal­ized,” mem­bers of that in­dus­try will largely sit on their hands in the ef­fec­tive re­ply, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

Is it fair? Prob­a­bly not. So it goes.

Fox had a lot of fans at HIMSS.

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