Interesting tidbits from the previously unpublished agreement between the New Brunswick Medical Society and the NB Department of Health, entitled “Electronic Medical Record Funding Agreement.” It describes the nuts and bolts of how federal funding from the Canada Health Infoway is intended to flow through the Department of Health to Velante clients.
I would not characterize it as a “good read,” but for those of you who may be interested (and undeterred by legal gobbledygook) I would be pleased to provide you with a PDF of the entire seven page document. Just send me an email.
Here’s my layman’s take on the salient points:
• The agreement was signed by Anthony Knight, then the Executive Director of the NBMS and Lyne St-Pierre-Ellis, Acting Deputy Minister, DOH, and dated 26 September 2012.
• The agreement expires 31 March 2015.
• The Department of Health agrees to match the amount spent by participating fee-for-service physicians, up to a maximum of $8000, in start-up costs. This is contingent on federal funds from Canada Health Infoway being available to the DOH.
• Salaried physicians can receive up to $16,000 for start-up, and will have their ongoing costs paid by the DOH.
• Only physicians will receive financial support. No provision has been made for allied health care workers.
• Community health centres are excluded from the agreement.
• EMR funding is subject to approval of the provincial Board of Management, Executive Council Office and Department of Health.
• The funding agreement as written terminated 31 December 2013.
• The agreement permits a maximum of two EMR vendors. [Editior’s note. Only one was eventually selected]
• NBMS must deliver quarterly reports the the DOH detailing number of participating physicians, and number of EMR installations completed at physician offices.
• Either party to the agreement may terminate it without cause by giving 180 days notice of this intent.
• If the terms of the agreement are violated, either side may demand remedy within 20 days of written notice, and if not remedied by then, the agreement may be terminated immediately.
There are, to the best of my knowledge, no reliable published statistics documenting how many NB physicians have shown interest in the provincial EMR monopoly, or made the requisite $500 deposit to “save me a space,” or have actually progressed to the point of running cables or buying computers. In November is was being suggested that somewhere between 110 and 120 physicians had offered up their deposit. Attracted, no doubt, by the lure of “limited time offer” juicy federal subsidies, and being comprised by at least 50% salaried physicians, who get their EMRs “for free.”
A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down…