The New Brunswick provincial EMR monopoly is expensive.
Most of the startup costs are being borne by the taxpayer. Ongoing costs will be split between the Province and the physicians who use the system. The company set up to administer and promote the monopoly, Velante, pays it’s salaries and expenses through a combination of New Brunswick Medical Society funds and user fees.
Even if you don’t use a EMR, you are paying for Velante. By you, I mean doctors and John Q. Public.
According the the financial statements of the New Brunswick Medical Society as of December 31, 2012, Velante had cost the NBMS $266,233 and overall was showing a single year loss for 2012 of $522,000. It will be interesting to see what the numbers are for 2013, with increased costs for salaries and a new office at 418 York Street in Fredericton.
According to Velante’s glossy promotional material, each physician signing on with Velante incurs startup expenses of $24,000. This costs the taxpayers $16,000 per fee-for-service physician and $24,000 for salaried doctors. Assuming that the the most recent numbers circulated by the NBMS are accurate, there are about 55 of each of these. That means the taxpayers are subsidizing the startup of the EMR program to the tune of $2,200,000.
Physicians who have chosen non-Velante EMR software have cost the taxpayer $0. Zip. Nada.
Non-Velante EMR users have paid their own way, in many cases shelling out over $20,000 in startup costs, with recurring monthly costs in the same range as the $395 claimed by Velante.
Until recently, Non-Velante EMR users had never complained about the cost of their EMR. At least, not until the provincial government and NBMS established their unfair and discriminatory subsidization of Velante products for the favoured few who have bought into what Velante is peddling. AND locked us out of the Department of Health computers, thereby hobbling the capabilities of our software.
I support an inclusive EMR system which would permit users to choose the EMR which they prefer. I also support the elimination of the “stacked deck” employed by Velante, and enshrined in the secret data sharing deal and juicy cash handout schemes concocted by NBMS and the Province. Interconnection with the provincial Department of Health computers should be available to ALL doctors, regardless of which EMR they use, provided that there is no cost to the taxpayer.
I’m willing to pay my own way in order to use the EMR I chose. I’ve been doing it for almost four years. Many of my non-Velante friends have been doing the same for even longer.
We deserve to be treated fairly. Nothing special. No handouts. No subsidies. Just get out of the way and let us do our jobs. Caring for patients. Isn’t that what this is all about?
There are a LOT of doctors in New Brunswick who think the same way.
Trouble is, nobody is listening.