Your View: City makes wise move on recycling facility

Aug. 18, 2013 @ 07:32 PM

I was pleased to read that the High Point City Council decided to proceed with a $3.5 million upgrade to the city’s Material Recovery Facility.  The upgrade should allow the MRF to operate with fewer employees and make the facility into a revenue generator.
I would suggest that when the upgrade is complete, garbage collection should go to every other week and recycling pick-ups begin weekly collection.  This was done in Japan and has been proven to make money out of garbage instead of it being a cost to citizens.  I know my recycling toter is too full on the second week and I end up throwing away recyclables in the trash.  Just a thought.
DEBY SIMMERSON
High Point

City acted too slowly on mayor’s bill
I read the article in the Enterprise (Aug. 6) about the mayor owing the city for a delinquent utility bill. Strib Boynton let the mayor go almost a year without paying this from a house she was renting at that time. No other citizen in High Point would be given this courtesy.
The city paid for a plane ticket for the mayor’s sister to go on a trip with the mayor. Did the sister stay in the same hotel room as the mayor? What about her food. Did my tax dollars pay for all that too?
If Strib Boynton OK’d all the above, he and his staff would not be left in an “untenable and unsustainable” position.
Why are the city manager and mayor still employed by the City of High Point? They both have been here too long.
Shame on all the people who knew about this and did nothing to bring it to light.
By the way, I need $500 to take a trip. Will the city send me a check? I will repay them as soon as I can, maybe around August 2015.
PAT CAIN
High Point


New medical records systems cause problems

BY CATHY M. POOLE

The Institute of Medicine defines conflict of interest: “when an individual or institution has a secondary interest that creates a risk of undue influence on decisions or actions affecting a primary interest.”
New York Times, February 2013:  “A tantalizing pitch: get a piece of a $19 billion government giveaway,” a 2009 presentation to doctors by Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, a well-connected player in the lucrative business of digital medical records. That February, after years of behind-the-scenes lobbying by Allscripts and others, legislation to promote the use of electronic records was signed into law as part of President Obama’s stimulus bill. The rewards, Allscripts suggested, were at hand.  But today, as doctors and hospitals struggle to make new records systems work, the clear winners are companies like Allscripts that lobbied for the legislation.
Class-action lawsuits expose glaring conflicts of interests and influence of Glen Tullman, former CEO of Allscripts, while Health Technology Advisor to President Obama and Jacob Reider, currently, Senior Policy Advisor on Health IT in the Office of the National Coordinator, former Allscripts Medical Director, and Chief Medical Informatics Officer until January 2011. 
Influential government perches positioned them to craft biased IT policy, holding physicians and hospitals liable for financial non-compliance penalty mandating purchase from the sector wherein their financial ties lay.
Class action lawsuits allege misrepresentations to physicians, hospitals and investors regarding the inability to integrate products, materially false and misleading statements and omissions made during the Class period about their progress, claims of insider trading and damages to stockholders and the medical providers forced into a play or pay scheme. Allscripts “MyWay,” chosen as “The Foundation of the NC Program to Advance Technology for Health” and the NC Health Information Exchange failed to meet meaningful-use criteria.
http://securities.stanford.edu/1048/MDRX00_01/2013515_r02c_12CV03297.pdf
Interestingly, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reports $75 million in revenue losses during implementation of EPIC EHR software.  Two consulting firms were hired and 950 jobs eliminated.  Wage and hour cuts, voluntary furloughs, elimination of incentive bonuses and retirement funding are part of the effort to withstand the financial storm.  
Cone Health reports $20 million losses, also during an EPIC implementation, and the same scenario repeats across the nation with numerous vendors.
I have yet to see or hear a response to Sens. Burr, Thune, Alexander, Roberts, Coburn and Enzi’s, “Re-Boot” initiative (April 16, 2013).  “Re-Boot” outlined concerns with federal Health IT policy, including increased healthcare costs, lack of momentum toward interoperability, potential waste and abuse of $35 billion in taxpayer funds, patient privacy and long-term sustainability.  After the shambles the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has made of the HITECH Act, they still intend to administer the coup de grace with ICD-10.  This would be disastrous for the country.  Although, as ONC’s Farzad Mostashari commented, “There is a lot of money to be made, (by IT firms) implementing it.”
Over the last 10 years, the cost of providing medical care has increased 30.5 percent, while reimbursement has risen only 5 percent. Eroding reimbursement and rising costs paint a bleak picture.  Healthcare facilities aren’t simply going broke, worse, they are breaking.
With AMA outcry, the ONC focus shifted to “usability” and voluntary EHR Developer Code of Conduct. It’s too little, too late.  ICD-10 and meaningful-use penalties must be overturned.  The clock is ticking.

Cathy M. Poole lives in Guilford County and is a medical practice manager in High Point.

 


YOUR VIEW POLLS

Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that changes numerous N.C. voting statutes, including voter ID requirement, early voting and use of paper ballots. What’s your view? In 30 words or less (no name, address required), email your thoughts to letterbox@hpe.com or go to hpe.com under Opinion and post a comment. Here is one response:
• I am all for showing I.D. Why would anyone have a problem with this unless they were either trying to hide something or maybe exercising a little voter fraud.

Guilford County officials are considering banning the tethering of dogs except under special circumstances. Should owners be prevented from keeping their dogs on tethers? In 30 words or less (no name, address required), email your thoughts to letterbox@hpe.com or go to hpe.com under Opinion and post a comment.