EMRs are yet another unfunded mandate aimed at physicians

LETTER — Posted Sept. 27, 2004

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Regarding "Gingrich's grand vision" (Article, Aug. 9): Newt Gingrich claims he doesn't believe that electronic medical record systems cost $20,000 to $50,000 [per doctor, per year]. In the last six months my practice has priced several EMR systems, and we have had no quote below $120,000 for our four-physician, one-location practice. Then there are the annual, everlasting, parasitic maintenance contract and technical support fees.

I also note that he expects the doctors to pay for the system he wishes to foist upon us, saying that we "can borrow against the float ... something every business in America is doing." What float? Doctors' offices are not "every business in America." As far as I know, we are the only "business" that cannot set its own prices.

So physicians are yet again going to be expected to support an unfunded mandate, while Mr. Gingrich gets richer off the feeding frenzy of the vendors of EMR packages.

Gary Cowan, MD, Fort Worth, Texas

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/09/27/edlt0927.htm.

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