Beware of the land sharks

I read a news item on the Healthcare IT News web site today. It actually dates from well over a week ago, but noteworthy nonetheless.

It concerns a speech given by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Here is a link to the article.

The gist of Dr. Benjamin’s remarks revolved around the need to move forward into the brave new world of electronic health records, which is one of the few areas of agreement I have with the current regime in Washington.

What caught my eye was perhaps an unwitting admission by a top Administration official that governmental regulation of healthcare is not an unalloyed benefit to those who live under its thumb. Read this quote of the very first paragraph of the story (pasted here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, emphasis added):

Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin learned a few things in her old job running the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama. First, the job didn’t just entail “sewing up the shark bites” – there were plenty of “land sharks” (regulators and red-tape dispensers) to fend off, too. Second, EHRs are an absolute must-have.

Soooo…. Her job — that of running a clinic and providing for the health of rural Americans — was hindered by regulators and red tape. Presumably, absent such regulations, she could have done an even more effective job.

How easily she, and the biased media, completely missed out on such an insightful admission. Meanwhile, though the Surgeon General post is largely ceremonial and pales in comparison to that of the head of Medicare and Medicaid — who won’t even dare to appear before Congress to testify — the quote points nicely to where we have been going wrong in the area of state-controlled healthcare, and to where the party now in power intends to take us.


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