EHR vendors have contributed significant dollars to political candidates, campaigns and organizations in recent years — via leadership, employees or their own political action committees.
Companies who partake in political activity or use a PAC are required by state and federal law to disclose contributions and expenditures through filings.
To determine how EHR vendors contribute to political campaigns, as well as how the companies' leaders and their employees donate independently, Becker's Hospital Review gathered information from publicly available databases such as OpenSecrets.org and the Federal Election Commission. The numbers included in this report are rough estimates based on contributions identified by Becker's Hospital Review.
Editor's Note: This list is not exhaustive. All data was gathered from publicly available sources such as OpenSecrets.org and the Federal Election Commission.
Epic: Becker's did not find any record of company political contributions from Epic.
Cerner: Cerner, which publishes its company's contributions to political campaigns in its yearly reports, has contributed $222,700 to political committees from 2014 to 2017. In that period, Cerner has also donated $60,000* to the Bipartisan Policy Center; $170,000* to the Democratic Governors Association; $200,000* to the Republican Governors Association; and $100,000* to the Texas eHealth Alliance. In 2018, the Cerner PAC spent $107,500 (31 percent to Democrats, 69 percent to Republicans).
*Only donations in excess of $25,000 were recorded.
Athenahealth: In 2018, the athenahealth PAC spent $16,526, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Allscripts: Allscripts has not made political contributions to individual candidates, political parties or campaigns regarding state or local referenda in recent years, according to a policy statement on its website dated March 4, 2015.
Company lobbying expenditures, according to OpenSecrets.org:
Epic: Since 2014, Epic has spent $537,980 on lobbying efforts.
Cerner: Since 2000, Cerner has spent $2.955 million on lobbying efforts.
Athenahealth: Since 2005, athenahealth has spent $1.457 million on lobbying efforts.
Allscripts: Since 1999, Allscripts has spent $14.355 million on lobbying efforts.
Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic: Between 1993 and 2015, Ms. Faulkner has donated $97,350 to Wisconsin state politicians — primarily from the Democratic Party — in the telecommunications and computers interest category, as noted by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Ms. Faulkner's individuals donations, which were made independent from her company, range in size from $150 to $10,000. On the federal side, Ms. Faulkner has also made roughly $316,753.95 to political campaigns, parties and organizations since 1997, according to the Federal Elections Commission. In recent years, Ms. Faulkner has contributed primarily to Sen.Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. An additional $61,000 in donations were listed under her name and city, however, no employer was listed for those entries. Becker's Hospital Review could not definitively attribute those donations to Ms. Faulkner.
Zane Burke, president of Cerner: Since 2007, Mr. Burke has contributed roughly $19,150 to the Cerner Corporation PAC, a political action committee with $287,314.98 in total contributions so far this year, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Independent from the company, he has also made at least $1,400 in donations to political campaigns targeting Libertarian or Republican candidates.
Jonathan Bush, former CEO and co-founder of athenahealth: Although Mr. Bush left athenahealth earlier this year, the company hasn't yet appointed a permanent CEO. Since 2003, Mr. Bush has contributed $146,643.29 to political campaigns, primarily for Republican campaigns, according to the Federal Elections Commission. There are two donations to note within that total, the first being Mr. Bush's $2,300 contribution to Obama for America in 2007-08, a timeframe which he also donated the same amount to John McCain 2008 and Romney for President. The second noteworthy contribution was made during 2015-16, when he donated a total of $40,993.29 to various state Libertarian parties.
Paul Black, CEO of Allscripts: No data could be found.
Company employees' contributions to political campaigns, according to OpenSecrets.org:
Epic: In the first seven months of 2018, Epic employees donated $16,637 to individuals, parties and outside organizations (98 percent to Democrats, 1 percent to Republicans).
Cerner: In the first seven months of 2018, Cerner employees donated $222,449 to individuals, parties and outside organizations (77 percent to Republicans, 23 percent to Democrats).
Athenahealth: In the first seven months of 2018, athenahealth employees donated $38,993to individuals, parties and outside organizations (99 percent to Democrats, 1 percent to Republicans).
Allscripts: In the first seven months of 2018, Allscripts employees donated $6,485 to individuals, parties and outside organizations (88 percent to Democrats, 4 percent to Republicans).
Other notable company spending:
Cerner: Sometime between August 2013 and December 2016, Cerner paid Charlotte, N.C.-based pediatrician Jeffrey Cleveland, MD, $135 for undisclosed reasons, as listed in ProPublica's "Dollars for Docs" database.
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