Government Wants Your Individual Obesity Rating By 2014
July 16, 2010
All Americans, by 2014 will be required to have an individual obesity rating electronically recorded. It has been determined that under the new health stimulus law passed by President Barack Obama recently, that all Americans, by 2014, will be required to have electronic health records which will include their height, weight and body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a formula that calculates ones body measurements, including height and weight, in order to come up with an individual obesity rating. Calculation of BMI is the preferred method of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for measuring obesity and coming up with an obesity rating, which is the measure of a person’s body fat percentage.
Regina Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon General stated that according to the CDC, “BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.”
America has been criticized for being a nation that actually promotes obesity and hence leads American's to have health issues. The new health regulation also stipulates that the electronic records, including BMI will be able to quickly send individual health records as public health data to state and federal health agencies such as the HHS and the CDC.
The new obesity-rating regulation will be enforced in every American's electronic health record. The regulation states that it must, “Calculate body mass index. Automatically calculate and display body mass index (BMI) based on a patient’s height and weight.” In addition, these electronic health records will be available for viewing on a national exchange. Seems a bit invasive, say many, but there will be security measures in place on these electronic records to try to help with privacy.
The 2009 economic stimulus law, already in place, has made some additions. The most major; this new regulation and requirement for obesity ratings within electronic records. This is the government's first step towards adopting a new universal requirement for electronic health records (EHRs) by 2014.
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for Health and Human Services (HHS), shared on Tuesday that under the stimulus law, health care providers, including doctors and hospitals, must establish "meaningful use" of EHRs by 2014 in order to qualify for federal subsidies. If they do not comply, they will risk getting penalized in the form of diminished Medicare and Medicaid payments. [at what cost for the providers?]
As outlined in Section 3001 of the stimulus law, it reads, "The National Coordinator shall, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies (including the National Institute of Standards and Technology), update the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan (developed as of June 3, 2008) to include specific objectives, milestones, and metrics with respect to the following: (i) The electronic exchange and use of health information and the enterprise integration of such information.‘‘(ii) The utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014."