Friday, December 02, 2011

All One Can Say Is - “Only In America”! I Wonder What Is Happening Here?

I was alerted to this article a few days ago.

Stimulus funds helped some stocks soar

By Tim Mullaney, Special for USA TODAY
As Congress and the White House launch investigations into renewable-energy loan guarantees made to companies such as Solyndra under the 2009 stimulus bill and related legislation, a USA TODAY analysis shows that a series of public companies that got help have soundly beaten the stock market and most venture-capital funds raised in 2008.
With debate raging in Washington about whether government can effectively pick winners and losers in a fast-changing economy, the data shed light on how well the Obama administration did the two major jobs that venture capital performs in a high-tech economy — helping investors make money and bringing new technology to market. Skeptics have pointed to former Obama economics adviser Lawrence Summers' comment in a 2009 e-mail that "government is a crappy VC" to argue that the $787 billion stimulus measure was packed with waste.
About $100 billion of stimulus funding was earmarked for technology spending, according to tech consulting firm International Data Corp. Two-thirds was for energy technology, and most of the rest will subsidize doctors' adoption of electronic medical-records (EMR) software. At USA TODAY's request, IDC identified major beneficiaries of that spending to examine whether the money helped companies grow and bring technologies to market.
The analysis covered more than 45 companies that are public or have registered for initial public offerings, including most leading makers of electronic medical-records software and electric cars, and a small selection of the 5,000-plus companies and local government agencies that got clean-energy stimulus grants. Separately, USA TODAY looked at the recipients of all 38 completed or pending loan guarantees under the Energy Department's three major financing programs, including well-known public companies such as Ford, Southern Cos. and NRG, not on IDC's list. In all, the included companies, or their customers, are to receive more than two-thirds of the technology funding.
So far, the legislation has sparked adoption of electronic medical-records software and nurtured an electric-car industry that will sell at least 20,000 cars this year. At least 19 companies have gone public or filed for IPOs after getting stimulus money, from Solazyme's $21.8 million grant to build a pilot biofuels refinery to a $1.6 billion loan guarantee letting BrightSource Energy build the world's biggest solar-generation plant of its kind, according to securities-disclosure filings.
Healthy gains
The clearest connection between the stimulus and the economy might be in health care software, in which the boost in companies' value far exceeds the amount spent so far in a five-year program costing up to $30 billion. Together, the gain in value of companies such as McKesson, Cerner and Athenahealth since the stimulus bill was proposed is at least $20 billion.
The stimulus has paid about $100 million so far to clients of Cerner, the largest maker of electronic medical-records (EMR) software, said Piper Jaffray analyst Sean Wieland. Given Cerner's 20% market share, that translates into $500 million in extra annual sales for the industry, which may double as lower Medicare reimbursements, also part of the stimulus law, kick in for doctors who don't use EMRs by 2015, he said.
"This really did accelerate adoption," said Jeff Townsend, chief of staff at Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner, whose stock-price value is up 194% or $6.5 billion, since January 2009. Cerner's new-software sales rose 26% in the first nine months of 2011 vs. 2010's pace of 16%. He said extra spending will add to growth, as doctors upgrade their systems and connect them to each other.
That spending has lifted nearly all health information technology stocks. Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, an EMR company whose CEO Glen Tullman raised money for Obama in 2008, has seen shares rise 134%. Rival Athenahealth, which supplies Internet-based medical-billing and EMR services as a cheaper alternative to software, has doubled since mid-2010.
The question is whether the spending was efficient, says Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush, who has donated to Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns and is former president George W. Bush's cousin. He says Washington could have spurred adoption of cheaper, more flexible technology such as his through regulatory changes without subsidizing software.
"We're a beneficiary of stimulus spending, but we'd be doing even better without it," said Bush, whose company benefitted from the administration's decision to have Medicare reimburse doctors for regularly using EMRs, favoring pay-as-you-go Internet business models such as Athena's, rather than paying for software purchases up front. "What you really needed was hundreds of cloud-based companies innovating."
By government standards, the health care stimulus was fairly disciplined, Townsend contends. Doctors aren't reimbursed for software until they show they're routinely using it for work such as prescribing medications, he said. While knitting together networks owned by different doctors and hospitals will take time, data-sharing is essential to contain overall health care spending, he said.
More here:
At the bottom of the article there is a table summarising the outcomes for a range of listed US companies.
iHealthBeat had an E-Health focussed take:
Monday, November 21, 2011

Stimulus Package Helped Boost Value of Health IT Stocks by 82%

The 2009 federal economic stimulus package helped to increase the stock value of 11 health IT-related companies by an average of 82%, according to an analysis by USA Today and consulting firm International Data Corporation, USA Today reports.
For the analysis, USA Today and IDC examined more than 45 companies that benefited from the stimulus package, including many leading manufacturers of electronic health record systems. All of the analyzed companies either are public or have registered for initial public offerings.
Health IT-Related Findings
According to the analysis, the value of the 11 health IT-related companies -- which include athenahealth, Cerner and McKesson -- has increased by a combined total of at least $20 billion since the stimulus package passed.
The analysis notes that the companies' gains exceed the amount that the federal government has spent so far to encourage EHR adoption through an incentive program that will cost up to $30 billion over five years. Under the stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
The analysis found that since the stimulus package passed, the stock value of health IT-related companies has increased by:
  • 194% for Cerner;
  • 134% for Allscripts Healthcare Solutions;
  • 105% for Computer Programs and Systems;
  • 105% for McKesson;
  • 96% for Siemens;
  • 89% for UnitedHealth Group;
  • 83% for Accenture;
  • 55% for athenahealth;
  • 51% for Dell; and
  • 34% for General Electric.
More here:
Some of the names we know well in Australia. It would be really interesting to know who much of the $467 Million we are spending on the PCEHR is going overseas and how much is actually ‘trickling down’ to Australian entities.
Sadly I doubt we will ever know. At least there has been considerable flow on to Australian based staff from DoHA and NEHTA especially for which we possibly should be grateful.
Sadly what I hear from a range of local providers is that demand has actually shrunk and that the concentration of skills in NEHTA and DoHA has ‘hollowed out’ the local industry to rather worrying levels.
This sentiment seems to have been expressed  here by the immediate past president of the Medical Software Industry Association.

MSIA: Things I should have said...

I wish I had kept a diary for the past two years during my time as the Medical Software Industry Association President (MSIA). The things I have seen, heard and read have generated all sorts of emotional responses: surprise; laughter; disappointment; frustration; sadness; anger; and humility. Health at the best of times is a hot topic. Throw an “e” at the start of Health and all sorts of “emotional” responses are brought forward. Throughout this roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, where often you only have a narrow window to get a point across, there are a number of things that, with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had said.
The current politicians’ need both better advisors and to make public servants actually responsible for their actions if they want to progress change. The political process is a short-term cycle and the objective seems to be simply to stay in power. We should accept this as a fact of how politics works. It is not as complicated as they would want us to believe. More time (and money it seems), is spent on spin doctoring rather than calling to account the people or organisations that money is provided to.
It is what happens next that really matters. We have all had experiences in our past that we would like to forget. While there are things that I should have said, I am sure there are things I should not have. Despite the frenetic pace that the eHealth agenda is facing and its potential derailment in many eyes, it is not too late to look at what can be achieved if we effectively work together to deliver the building blocks of eHealth. It is still possible if we harness the good will and the money that has been allocated to the eHealth agenda. Industry can help if they are helped. It has to be a constructive and effective action-generating outcomes. It is a hard task before us at best, so let us not make it harder than it already is. Simple, simple, simple steps is all that is needed. These steps will have lasting effects and stimulate innovation and creativity in the market place.
In conclusion: “Where is the rest of the $467 million that is not accounted for?” Any simple calculation of announced funding seems to have $10’s of millions, if not a lazy $100 million, unaccounted for. Why can’t that money be used to assist industry broadly to get the foundation pieces in place, like Health Identifiers, terminology and secure messaging across all sectors? This will deliver greater benefits and improve the effectiveness and efficiency in health and healthcare delivery than a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system alone. Furthermore, it will enhance the PCEHRs that are already in existence and support the uptake of existing ones. This will be a lost opportunity if this money is not wisely spent with the broader industry to bring them to the table to deliver change. If we don’t engage the wider industry now, they will wander off and pursue things that really matter. eHealth dreams will be remembered as lost opportunities, good money after bad again, like the ghosts of eHealth past.
Dr Geoffrey Sayer
BSc(Psychol), MCH, PhD
Immediate Past President, MSIA
Lots more here:
There is a serious warning here for those who will listen!


Anonymous said...

Coca-cola is good for my sperm count. Wi-fi kills my sperm. You are creating more Wi-Fi with your blog and I don't like it. Let me have children, please.

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...

Sorry, you have lost me here!