I wasn’t lucky enough to get a press pass, or a scholarship, to HIMSS15 this year. Given events of the last few days, I’m really sorry I can’t be on the ground in Chicago for what feels like a grassroots revolt brewing in protest of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dropping an announcement, on Friday late afternoon, that they were thinking of gutting the rules for patient access to their own records under the “Meaningful Use” criteria of healthcare reform. You know, the one where we spent something like $6B of taxpayer money. Which was supposed to make care easier, safer, cheaper.

There are phases and stages of Meaningful Use. We’re in MU2 right now. Originally, by the end of the MU2 period (running through 2020), a practice or facility had to demonstrate that 5% of the people/patients cared for in that practice or facility viewed, downloaded, or transmitted their personal health information (PHI) to a 3rd party. That was the criteria for a healthcare provider seeking stimulus $$ for EHR technology deployment [updating: and Medicare reimbursement].

Here’s the “new” rule (clue train: instead of 5%, it’s 1. No, not 1%, one patient) being proposed:


I know, right? Friday afternoon, everyone in the industry is heading to Chicago for HIMSS15, who’ll care? Sorry, CMS, but you are totally busted. Here’s data access rights activist Regina Holliday, who’s at HIMSS and whose hair is now on fire:

Speaking of “hair on fire” … so’s mine.

Seems like the Empire is trying to strike back. Or the Capitol (the big-money healthcare industry players who drop money on K Street lobbyists like snowflakes in Boston in the winter of 2014) thinks it’s run over all the Districts (patients, caregivers, families) and has little to fear from our powerlessness. I think they’re wrong. Dead wrong. And they’re about to find out just *how* wrong. Expert, activist patients, along with savvy clinical folks whose hearts are truly in their work, are now assembled in District 13.

My take can be summed up in this image [updated on Tuesday, April 14]:

bluebutton mockingjay mashup image

We are coming for your silos. Because it’s OUR data, and OUR lives.

World on fire. Film at 11.
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