Electronic Medical Records in the Age of Government Controlled Internet Kill Switches

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By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

Egypt’s crisis has raised alarms about national security and economic impact for Americans if regime change leads to an anti-US government controlling a strong ally in the Middle East. This crisis raises another more personal concern for Americans that has been overlooked by the national media: the security and availability of your electronic medical records in the event of a government-imposed “kill switch” for the Internet.

Many Americans still do not know that hidden in the February 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the “Stimulus” bill, was a provision that by 2014, physicians, hospitals, and other medical settings are to implement electronic medical records keeping systems. In 2015, penalties will be levied against physicians and health care facilities that do not implement use of electronic medical records.

The government’s plan is that medical information from physician consults and other medical visits will be sent to the Federal Health Information Technology (HIT) bureau in Washington, D.C. to provide individual medical data for the federally run Comparative Effectiveness Research coordinating panel of experts. According to a provision also hidden in the “Stimulus” bill, this panel of government-appointed experts is designated with deciding what treatment is allowed for individuals, based on government criteria for both cost and effectiveness.

Why do the events happening in Egypt raise concerns about these provisions in the 2009 Stimulus Bill? Think about it. The authoritarian government in power in Egypt quickly realized that communication via the Internet was furthering the spread of the protest movement. Without warning, the Egyptian government suddenly shut down the Internet to stop protesters’ ability to organize rallies.

Of course, protesters’ communication was not the only communication that was interrupted with this draconian “kill switch.” Financial systems, such as on-line banking, ATMs, and wire transfers, were affected, along with hundreds of other businesses that could no longer communicate with other offices around the world.

Medical communication via the Internet also came to a halt. Suppose your local doctor or hospital Emergency Room must obtain your electronic medical record via the Internet from the Health Czar’s cyberspace “cloud,” with access controlled by Washington elites.

What happens to your ability to get rapid medical treatment if you find yourself in a medical emergency that occurs in the middle of a political crisis and the government has shut down the Internet? At that point, you will appreciate first hand the true tyranny of ObamaCzarCare.

The President already has the authority under the Emergency Powers Act to do just this, so it isn’t hard to take the next step and imagine what can happen to patients if we physicians only have access via the Internet to people’s electronic records.

I prefer the old fashioned paper medical records that are available to me and my patients 24/7 – even when monsoon storms knock out electricity and the computer is out, or we are hit with a high-altitude detonation of a nuclear device that generates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which knocks out all electronic systems, or our own government decides suddenly to implement an emergency internet “kill switch.”

Any of these scenarios could be life-threatening if you have a medical emergency and all your information is tied up in computer systems that are no longer accessible.

Paper has a purpose. Paper medical records also serve valuable functions, even in the computer and Internet age. I have grave concern about moving totally to electronic medical records as I watch the problems that occur with disruptions to Internet access – whatever the cause – and the problems that occur with breach of computer systems security to steal confidential information.

Remember the hacking of Pentagon and NASDAQ computer systems? Remember the massive Wikileaks confidential data dump on the web? How do you feel about this type of leak of your personal private medical information? David Blumenthal, M.D., the President’s former “health information czar,” acknowledged “No infrastructure exists in most areas of the country for secure health information exchange among providers and between providers and consumers.”

Medical privacy? Apparently it is more important, according to this administration’s health czars to achieve the government’s efficiency goals than to insure your personal medical information is kept between you and your physicians.

Many of us who work with patients every day are very worried about the potential for harm to patients under a system in which medical information is controlled by government-appointed central planners. Physicians need immediate access to critical information, and we also realize the sacred responsibility we have to keep our patients medical information private – both of these functions are potentially seriously harmed by government control of our health information.

Have the Obama Administration central planners really thought about the many potentially serious ramifications to having all our medical records concentrated in one place and accessible only via the Internet? Or, is that the unstated purpose of our new “ObamaCzarCare:” government-controlled health services and control of medical information?

By limiting your freedom to get the care you need, when you need it, and with whom you choose…and by infringing on your medical privacy, the government has ever-increasing control of your life.

Americans face many dangers that lie in government control of electronic medical records coupled with government control of access to communication via the Internet.

Just thinking about a government-controlled kill switch can make you ill.

©Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

DISCLAIMER: Dr. Vliet speaks as an independent physician, not as an official spokesperson for any organization. Dr. Vliet has no financial ties to any health care system, pharmaceutical company, or health insurance plan. Her allegiance and advocacy is to and for patients.

AAPS – The Voice for YOU, Not The Government!


Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a preventive and climacteric medicine specialist with medical practices in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX that take an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems. Dr. Vliet is also President of International Health Strategies, Ltd., a global healthcare and education service company whose mission is twofold: liberty and privacy in treatment options and preservation of the Oath of Hippocrates focus on the individual patient.

Dr. Vliet is the 2007 recipient of the Voice of Women award from the Arizona Foundation for Women for her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone connections in women’s health. Dr. Vliet received her M.D. degree and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, then completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Vliet is a Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Vliet has appeared on FOX NEWS, Cavuto, Stuart Varney Show, Fox and Friends and syndicated radio shows across the country addressing the economic and medical impact of the new healthcare bill.

Dr. Vliet’s books include: It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect– And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman’s Guide to PCOS, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Testosterone.

9 Comments

  1. A very well thought out article with pertinent questions put into print. It is something that I know the medical profession has has talked about for a long time now. I retired in 2005 and it was being talked about then and frankly, I never thought it was a good idea then and I still don’t.

    I am a retired Respiratory Therapist, in Tucson, from the mid-west. I am also a Christian. Not one of these fly by night fake Christians but the real deal. I can tell you exactly where all this is going to go.

    The government no longer takes into consideration our constitution therefore, the unalienable rights that both the Lord and the constitution gave us, are no longer recognized, including our right to privacy. Trust me when I say that the government will take your concerns under advisement and they will come up with a solution.

    I believe I already know what that solution will be and it is being looked into now. It is the all famous RFID chip. They will perfect it so it causes no diseases or cancer and the insertion site. It will take care of several problems at once. It will take care of accessing medical records in the event of the internet kill switch being activated as well as identity theft and robberies, purse snatching etc. It will hold medical records, financial records address and phone number, who to contact in case of emergencies and whatever other information they deem necessary to put on there.

    The only problem is…if you take it, and you believe in God, you are doomed. I believe it to be the chip or the mark talked about in Revelation chapter 13. Since it will hold all your vital records, including banking, you will not be able to buy nor sell without it. With all I see happening around the world and in our own government, it really does match up with the end times now. I know…people have said this for so long now but it lines up with more than it ever did in the past. So, this is just a heads up. Professional courtesy if you will. I have already signed a pledge that no matter what, I will never use what I know to help take a life should the government ever call on me to go back to work. All medical professionals should think about what they would do in this event. Abortion is murder and there are many who perform it and nurses & other professionals involved. It won’t end there. So, some years down the line, and it won’t be too far down the road, it will all come back to mind, if you have read this. Make you decisions well. Life is precious. With Obama care, it is just another tool to depopulate, just as the GMO food with all the additives, vaccines, too many pharmaceuticals, chem trails and end of life talks.

    Whew could I go on and on, but I am sure you get the picture. Many of you might be doctors, but I have done my share of research when it comes to other things.

  2. About a year ago, I was shocked to learn of the $50B allocation of “Stimulus” funds for physicians to transition to “EHR”. This was one of the main factors that that led me to opt-out of Medicare this year. Paper will prevail in my office.

  3. Yes, only the schmucks in pharmaceutical companies will be required to use controlled, “clean” data in conduct of clinical trials. The “comparative effectiveness” commissars will use uncontrolled (in the extreme) EMR data from myriad users and sources to conduct their cybernetic magic.

    I see numerous problems with that arrangement.

  4. Doing medical missionary work in India, we saw the ultimate control of the patient record. People carry notebooks containing their medical records. They present you, the doctor, with their record, you access what you need, then you give it back with whatever additions you may add. No government or insurance involvement. Now that is patient freedom and confidentiality!

  5. Totally agree. The current system works just fine. Who needs a patient record system that would be reliably disrupted if a patient seeks routine care during a nuclear blast?

  6. Look at the individuals on the various boards overseeing implementation of this move to centralized electronic data storage. You will find not a single doctor who cares for the sick for a living. You find instead professors, policy wonks, bureaucroctors, insurance company reps, and staff from within the CMS beast. These doctors have the time to promote themselves within this new world, indeed that is what they are paid to do. In two years the ICD-10 is coming. Doctors, at enormous personal cost in equipment, training and lost income, will don these new shackles and doubtlessly argue for hours over how much more or less painful they are than the ICD-9 current enslavement.

  7. My question: How do I, as a sometimes patient, protect the confidentiality of my med. records? It disgusts me that as consumers of medical care, patients’ hands are effectively tied. What disgusts me even more is that only after Obama & the democrats shoved Obamacare down our unwilling throats, all of these unintended consequences and built-in penalties for doctors are starting to surface. Alas, it’s my fear that no matter how much any of us speak out against what O-Care is going to foist upon us, it will never be repealed, at least not in its entirety (which is what I would love to see).

    Thank you for a well thought out article which points out several scenarios that we may not have thought of before the governmental crisis in Egypt occurred. Too many people do not think beyond the “free” part (and it’s not even “free”) to the part where they give up their right to medical privacy.

  8. Question, if the Florida district court called the “Obamacare” insurance mandate unconstitutional, for one – because you can’t force people to participate in commerce… What makes the Feds think that they can mandate that we all participate in willingly in giving our most private and secure papers (check the constitution on private papers) to them so that they can “Meaningfully use” the information in them? The agencies are now over 100 that will have access to these records and is climbing. Are we all so sure that, aside from the kill switch dilemma, that opening up our most private information will be only used by those with the most pure of intentions? I think not! The mere fact that the government WANTS our records is suspect to me. Did anyone see “Watson” on Jeopardy? Thats the wonderful IBM program that will be sorting through all our records and giving “His” take on what Doctor or patient is not following the rules programmed into him. I believe the final question, which he got right, he was only 30% sure. That means he guessed against 70% of other answers that would have been WRONG. I like my doctor’s brain better, thank you very much.

  9. Is there anything in place legally, saying the medical society cannot keep medial paper records, along with computer records?
    Personally, I think both serve their purpose for many sides of the issue…both to protect the PT as well as the medical profs….and the Govt will do as they please, as you say in the Obama Czar Medial World.=New World Order!!!

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