Minnesota House Committee Accepts CCHF Amendment on Electronic Health Records State Mandate

 

***NEWS RELEASE***

For Immediate Release
March 30, 2015

CONTACT:
Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096 or Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com

 

Minnesota House Committee Accepts CCHF Amendment on Electronic Health Records State Mandate

 

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Says Change to Mandate’s Language Exempts Small Medical Practices from Intrusive and Expensive State Regulations

 

ST. PAUL, Minn.—In a positive step toward freeing small private practice clinics from intrusive state regulations, a Minnesota State House of Representatives committee last week accepted an amendment that would reduce the reach of the state’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) mandate. The amendment was drafted by Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org), a Minnesota-based national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights.

“We’re pleased that the EHR exemption language was added to Rep. Tara Mack’s bill in last week’s Civil Law and Data Practices Committee,” said CCHF President and Co-Founder Twila Brase. “We thank Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen for offering the amendment. 

“The language exempts small practices of up to seven health care providers from Minnesota’s mandate that every provider use an electronic health record and have it hooked up to the grid. Many small practices cannot afford the cost of the EHR system, and many practices do not want to make their patients’ data accessible online. 

“This language would allow smaller practices to thrive in smaller communities,” she continued. “It would allow smaller practices to open—and to keep their doors open—rather than being forced to join a big practice, and it would allow smaller clinics to offer privacy to their patients. Patients would be able to look for practitioners that hold their medical data truly confidential and for doctors that look them in the eye rather than turning their back on them and typing into a computer. 

“Minnesota is the only state that does not allow health care providers to opt out of expensive, intrusive online-accessible EHRs. The federal HITECH Act mandates EHRs, but allows any provider to opt out. This amendment begins to give Minnesota the level of freedom and privacy available to doctors and patients in the rest of the nation.”

CCHF crafted the amendment to Minnesota Statute §62J.495, which calls for all health providers in the state to employ costly and intrusive EHR systems. CCHF’s amendment suggests exempting practices with up to seven health care providers.

The amendment moves to insert the following language into current law: “Implementation: By January 1, 2015, all hospitals and health care providers must have in place an interoperable electronic health records system within their hospital system or clinical practice setting. The commissioner of health, in consultation with the e-Health Advisory Committee, shall develop a statewide plan to meet this goal, including uniform standards to be used for the interoperable system for sharing and synchronizing patient data across systems. The standards must be compatible with federal efforts. The uniform standards must be developed by January 1, 2009, and updated on an ongoing basis. The commissioner shall include an update on standards development as part of an annual report to the legislature. A health care provider in private practice with no more than six additional health care providers is exempt from the requirements of this section.”

At the start of 2015, doctors and mental health professionals discovered the troubling Minnesota mandate—the only one like it in the nation. Every health care provider in the state is required to employ an interoperable EHR system connected to a state-approved Health Information Organization, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars and will compromise patients’ private medical information.

CCHF says the current mandate is intrusive and costly for doctors and patients. But unlike every other state in the country under the 2009 federal EHR mandate, Minnesota has no opt-out option. Therefore, CCHF has been gathering petition signatures to reverse the Minnesota-only mandate—and return health freedom to both patients and doctors.

“Many providers are unaware of the Minnesota-only EHR mandate, but as practitioners find out, they are very unhappy at the idea of being unable to protect the privacy of their patients and being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars they can’t afford to buy a system they don’t want. One survey found some mental health practitioners are planning to retire if forced to use the EHR,” Brase said. 

“EHRs change the way we interact with our doctors—and not in a positive way. Beyond cost, a major concern is that entering private patient data into one large system, accessible by many, compromises patients’ privacy and security, as well as physician autonomy. The cost is substantial. Doctor’s offices and clinics could be forced to pay upwards of $15,000 to $70,000 to install and maintain these systems, plus a monthly hosting fee. This endangers the independent practice of any practitioner and endangers patient willingness to be honest about their medical and mental health concerns.” 

For more information about CCHF, visit its web site at www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cchfreedom or its Twitter feed, @CCHFreedom.

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom is a patient-centered national health freedom organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that exists to protect health care choices and patient privacy.​​ CCHF sponsors the daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which airs on approximately 350 stations nationwide, including 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. Listeners can learn more about the agenda behind health care initiatives and​ steps they can take to protect their health care choices, rights and privacy. 

CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase, R.N., has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.” A public health nurse, Brase has been interviewed by CNN, Fox News, Minnesota Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today Show, NPR, New York Public Radio, the Associated Press, Modern Healthcare, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Washington Times, among others. She is at the forefront of informing the public of crucial health issues, such as intrusive wellness and prevention initiatives in Obamacare, patient privacy, informed consent, the dangers of “evidence-based medicine” and the implications of state and federal health care reform.

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For more information or to interview Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, or Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com

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