***Cross-posted at What Floats My Boat***
This is just a tiny portion of the "stimulus" bill recently ramrodded through Congress (emphasis mine):
SEC. 3002. POLICY COMMITTEE.Followed in short order by the following section:
(a) Establishment. - There is established a HIT Policy Committee to make policy recommendations to the National Coordinator relating to the implementation of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure, including implementation of the strategic plan described in section 3001(c)(3).
(1) RECOMMENDATIONS ON HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE. - The HIT Policy Committee shall recommend a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that permits the electronic exchange and use of health information as is consistent with the strategic plan under section 3001(c)(3) and that includes the recommendations under paragraph (2). The Committee shall update such recommendations and make new recommendations as appropriate.
(2) SPECIFIC AREAS OF STANDARD DEVELOPMENT.
(A) IN GENERAL. - The HIT Policy Committee shall recommend the areas in which standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria are needed for the electronic exchange and use of health information for purposes of adoption under section 3004 and shall recommend an order of priority for the development, harmonization, and recognition of such standards, specifications, and certification criteria among the areas so recommended. Such standards and implementation specifications shall include named standards, architectures, and software schemes for the authentication and security of individually identifiable health information and other information as needed to ensure the reproducible development of common solutions across disparate entities.
(B) AREAS REQUIRED FOR CONSIDERATION. - For purposes of subparagraph (A), the HIT Policy Committee shall make recommendations for at least the following areas:
(i) Technologies that protect the privacy of health information and promote security in a qualified electronic health record, including for the segmentation and protection from disclosure of specific and sensitive individually identifiable health information with the goal of minimizing the reluctance of patients to seek care (or disclose information about a condition) because of privacy concerns, in accordance with applicable law, and for the use and disclosure of limited data sets of such information.
(ii) A nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and accurate exchange of health information.
(iii) The utilization of a certified electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.
(iv) Technologies that as a part of a qualified electronic health record allow for an accounting of disclosures made by a covered entity (as defined for purposes of regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) for purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations (as such terms are defined for purposes of such regulations).
(v) The use of certified electronic health records to improve the quality of health care, such as by promoting the coordination of health care and improving continuity of health care among health care providers, by reducing medical errors, by improving population health, by reducing health disparities, by reducing chronic disease, and by advancing research and education.
(vi) Technologies that allow individually identifiable health information to be rendered unusable, unreadable, or indecipherable to unauthorized individuals when such information is transmitted in the nationwide health information network or physically transported outside of the secured, physical perimeter of a health care provider, health plan, or health care clearinghouse.
(vii) The use of electronic systems to ensure the comprehensive collection of patient demographic data, including, at a minimum, race, ethnicity, primary language, and gender information.
(viii) Technologies that address the needs of children and other vulnerable populations.
(C) OTHER AREAS FOR CONSIDERATION. - In making recommendations under subparagraph (A), the HIT Policy Committee may consider the following additional areas:
(i) The appropriate uses of a nationwide health information infrastructure, including for purposes of:
(I) the collection of quality data and public reporting;
(II) biosurveillance and public health;
(III) medical and clinical research; and
(IV) drug safety.
(ii) Self-service technologies that facilitate the use and exchange of patient information and reduce wait times.
(iii) Telemedicine technologies, in order to reduce travel requirements for patients in remote areas.
(iv) Technologies that facilitate home health care and the monitoring of patients recuperating at home.
(v) Technologies that help reduce medical errors.
(vi) Technologies that facilitate the continuity of care among health settings.
(vii) Technologies that meet the needs of diverse populations.
(viii) Methods to facilitate secure access by an individual to such individual's protected health information.
(ix) Methods, guidelines, and safeguards to facilitate secure access to patient information by a family member, caregiver, or guardian acting on behalf of a patient due to age-related and other disability, cognitive impairment, or dementia.
(x) Any other technology that the HIT Policy Committee finds to be among the technologies with the greatest potential to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.
SEC. 3012. HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION ASSISTANCE.
(h) CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. The Secretary shall annually evaluate the activities conducted under this section and shall, in awarding grants under this section, implement the lessons learned from such evaluation in a manner so that awards made subsequent to each such evaluation are made in a manner that, in the determination of the Secretary, will lead towards the greatest improvement in quality of care, decrease in costs, and the most effective authorized and secure electronic exchange of health information.
Potential for abuse of personal information (including health, identity, and financial information) aside, what exactly does collection of data at minimum including one's race, ethnicity, gender, and primary language have to do with "stimulating the economy"? Reading through the expansive verbiage of the bill, one repeatedly sees "within 2 years" or "within 24 months" - so what exactly does this have to do with the economic crisis NOW and the need to stimulate the economy NOW?
Having scanned through this monstrosity, for the life of me, I cannot figure out HOW this can be trumpeted as a "stimulus" bill; nor can I figure out how "President" Obama can stand there and tell us to our faces it has NO earmarks - another bald-faced lie (similar to those scattered along the campaign trail), expected to be lapped up like milk and honey by the masses of idiots who voted for only for "hope" and "change" and force-fed to the rest of us by default, because, as he loves to remind us, "I won."
Ramrodded through both houses of Congress, babbling after the fact "I see problems but the Senate will fix it" or "Why the rush?" while voting to press it through, "President" Obama standing at the forefront telling us we're in a crisis and we need this bill, even if "It's not perfect, but no bill ever is".... So WHY are we paying them (and paying FOR them) to create bills that are consistently "not perfect," proven again and again in an historical context to do more harm than good?
On the heels of the last supposed "stimulus" that was foisted onto a public voicing strong objections to Congress - JUST SAY NO - rammed through last fall with NO regard to those objections, this current "stimulus" (also denounced loudly by nearly half the population).... what is happening in Washington is, again, WORSE than taxation without representation: We are electing these fools (maybe, or maybe not, considering the Franken case) but they are NOT representing our best interests and are deliberately ignoring the wishes of their constituents: You and me, VOTERS, TAXPAYERS, CITIZENS of the United States. Yet another core value of the Constitution gutted and left for dead, the guarantee to us of a republican form of government.
I had not the intestinal fortitude to watch his "press conference," but I am unable to fathom how the "leader" of this nation could say something as asinine as "nurses cannot even read the doctor's handwriting" as justification for monitoring not only our PHI but the type of care we receive as a patient - decided by a bureaucracy rather than the men and women who dedicated years of their lives to learning about medicine, anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. Mark the demise of the sanctity of the patient/physician relationship.
Seriously? I thought he was a smart guy, but now I reconsider that notion in any way, shape, or form. Handwriting has little to do with medical records in this day and age; an entire industry of medical transcriptionists is being obliterated with the FORCED implementation of EMR. We have nothing to transcribe, since it is done at POS by the nurse and physician (in the physician office setting). Hospital records are generated by dictation and transcription - no handwriting is involved (even signatures are now electronic). Orders are phoned in by the physician and recorded BY THE NURSES, to be signed later (electronically). The only time you see a doctor's handwriting anymore is on a prescription - and most physicians are moving to generating printed prescriptions with electronic signatures.
Talk about disconnected and out of touch with reality. Unless, more likely, this nonsense talk about handwriting is more smoke and mirrors to distract us while more of our rights are usurped.
This would open up our PHI and our medical history to abuse not only by the government but by hackers infiltrating the system to steal that information. How can the Congress even consider such a notion, after the passage of HIPAA and the complications resulting from that, regardless of the more "secure" methods of handling PHI? After all, HIPAA is about the protection of PHI/confidentiality with severe sanctions imposed for noncompliance.
This is the ultimate violation of our privacy, with individuals not involved in our care and treatment having unlimited access to every aspect of our lives (there is a lot more than just health information contained in a medical record, you had better believe), placing restrictions on care in the interests of money rather than the individual or the "general welfare," (can you say GOODBYE to the 14th Amendment), violating the patient/physician relationship and deliberately impeding the EXPLICIT CONTRACT between physician and patient (we contract for services and he is reimbursed accordingly - violation of the contract clause, Article I, Section 10).
It is absolutely amazing - and deeply disturbing - that we are in such a position in this nation, our rights and liberties and now even our very lives being controlled and manipulated by an out-of-control government. Perhaps Barry was right, we really DO need to create a new Declaration of Independence: It is our right and our DUTY to abolish a government that is destructive toward the ends of securing our inalienable rights - rights endowed upon us by our Creator, NOT by an institution that is so corrupt the necrosis is showing through.