WI governor's EMR plan draws rebuke

A plan to foster EMR adoption by shifting millions out of the state's medical malpractice fund has gotten a sharp rebuke from state auditors, who say that the move could be illegal and would undermine the state's med mal coverage system. Governor Jim Doyle (D) would like to take $175 million out of the fund, which insures about 14,000 Wisconsin doctors and providers against claims over $1 million, and use the money largely to fund providers who switch to EMRs. Doyle argues that if providers use EMRs, they'll lower the number of medical errors that occur, offsetting the effect of the transfer.

But financial watchdogs don't buy this logic. In a letter to lawmakers, State Auditor Jan Mueller noted that while the fund had $737 million in cash and investments in hand as of mid-2006, it has liabilities of $685 million, and that a $175 million transfer would put the fund in the red. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Medical Society has also come out against Doyle's proposal, concerned that funding changes could weaken the successful state malpractice program.

To learn more about the controversy:
- read this La Crosse Tribune article