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Roe Opposes Implementing EHR System for Illegal Immigrants before Veterans

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Washington, September 26, 2019 | Samantha Gonzalez (202-225-3527) | comments

Today, Ranking Member Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), released the following statement after voting against H.R. 3525, the U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act:

"Before coming to Congress, I was a practicing physician for over 31 years and installed an electronic health record (EHR) in my own practice. It took over a year to transition just 80,000 charts from paper to electronic. This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to install an EHR for all illegal border crossers in just 30 days. That is impossible and, even worse, it creates an unattainable, unfunded mandate for DHS that will stretch their scarce resources even thinner. In my role as Chairman and now Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I have worked with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin implementing a new, interoperable EHR for service members and veterans. That will take a decade and approximately $25 billion. If we cannot deliver a modern medical record for the men and women who put their lives on the line for us sooner than that, it is impossible to think that we could or should deliver one in a month for those who knowingly enter our country illegally. We should not treat anyone, particularly someone who breaks our laws, better than we treat our heroes. DHS staff along the border are doing the best they can to keep up with screening illegal border crossers and this bill will make it harder for them to do their job without actually helping anyone.”

Despite requiring the implementation of an EHR system in 90 days, H.R. 3525 provides no funding to meet this requirement. This will cost many millions of dollars and would cause DHS to divert funds meant to stop drugs and terrorists from crossing our border or providing financial assistance following natural disasters to instead reallocate them to focus on health care for illegal border crossers. Watch Ranking Member Roe's remarks on the House floor here.

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