Saturday, October 01, 2011

Big Brother to Attend the 2012 ACC Meeting in Chicago

Last year, I became concerned about using RFID tags to track doctors at our annual scientific sessions for "planning" purposes. In return, the ACC explained why (really) this was necessary and how they will "take your concerns in consideration" for future meetings.

Suffice it to say, this year, RFID tags will be used again. From the ACC Scientific Session registration page:
RFID badge scanning technology will be utilized at ACC.12 to better understand attendee/delegate educational interests and preferences to assist with future planning. No personal information is stored in the RFID badge, only an ID number. Exhibiting companies that choose to rent RFID readers to analyze attendee movement in their booth will NOT be provided with attendee names or personal contact information. Only organizational affiliation, clinical focus, and city/state/country information will be provided.
So don't be concerned. After all, this year there's something more that's even better!

Big Brother will be watching.

Yes, doctor, please enter your Medicare NPI number at the time of registration so the government can track you, too.

Why does the government need to do this? We're told:
A provision (Editor: Caution - 323 pages!) within the 2010 federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires healthcare companies to disclose any transfer of value to a healthcare provider to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services beginning in 2012. The ACC requests its U.S. healthcare provider attendees supply their publicly-available NPI number so that companies may comply with the above provision.
So companies will have your individually-identifiable Medicare NPI number anyway. You, dear doctor, will be tracked, courtesy of the US government, RFID tag or not.

We should ask ourselves some probing questions about this activity:
  1. What in heaven's name is "affordable" to America's health care system about this action? Is it the development of a tracking database? Are our nation's doctors historically untrustworthy in their dealings with industry when attending educational scientific sessions?
  2. Is this action required because patients will be harmed or placed at risk by this educational activity?
  3. Will other professional and political conferences be similarly tracked?
  4. How much does this tracking cost the American taxpayer? Will it cost more to collect the data and analyze it than is saved by tracking meal expenses? In other words, is it cost-effective?
Oh, and one last question:
Are US taxpayers aware they are funding this type of activity?
Well if they weren't, they certainly are now.



Tim Hulsey, MD said...

It's not surprising that the Apollo Alliance, who had the bill all written and packaged for the progressives, put another little provision in to control physicians. It was one of those things we wouldn't be able to find out until the bill was passed, as Nancy Pelosi said. We continue to discover things hidden in the dark little recesses of this 2000+ page bill. It's sort of like an Easter (can we say Easter?) egg hunt, but the eggs are dangerous to your personal freedom!

walter said...

"So...we see you talked to ____ about their ___. Anything you want to tell us about that?"