NASHVILLE –State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) has recently been appointed by Lt. Governor Randy McNally to serve as chairman of the Electronic Health Records Task Force. As Chairman, Gardenhire says he wants to identify ways to improve the Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems used in Tennessee by increasing their efficiency, cutting costs to medical providers and eliminating potential fraud and abuse of TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
“When electronic health records were first introduced by the Obama Administration ten years ago, they were promised to streamline the health records process for doctors and patients by keeping all of a patient’s health records in one place in a portable form,” said Gardenhire. However EHRs have fallen short of their promises and have resulted in more headaches for many doctors and healthcare professionals. I look forward to leading this task force as we work to identify ways EHRs can be more efficiently utilized in Tennessee’s hospitals.”
Rather than saving time and money, the costs of EHRs are continuing to grow. Despite the $36 billion spent by the federal governmenton EHRs,the technology is often implemented in hospitals with detrimental bugs that can fall on the hospital to incur the costs of fixing. According to an article published by Kaiser Health News, EHRs have also opened the door for fraud and abuse, some of which is costing Medicaid and state administered Medicaid programs.
Gardenhire says he wants to study EHR contracts with hospitals across the state to identify waysto increase their efficiency. He also wants to learn if TennCare fraud is occurring as a result of the new technology.
“If we can save not only TennCare but also hospitals money, it will make more funds available to provide better coverage to more people,” added Gardenhire.
The task force plans to work with healthcare experts from across the country and state to undertake a comprehensive review of the utilization of electronic health records in the state.
Other members of the task force will be Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Senator Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) and Senator Katrina Robinson (R-Memphis).