Here's how much top EHR vendors spent lobbying Congress in 2017

Most electronic health record vendors allocated less money to lobbying last year than they did in 2016 -- with the notable exception being Cerner.
By Bernie Monegain
08:55 AM
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There’s big money at play in health IT. So it follows that technology vendors and often spend their share on lobbying Congress, too. 

We checked OpenSecrets.org to see how much EHR makers allocated to lobbying the government last year and here's what we found.  

Allscripts: $140,400, the same as 2016
Athenahealth: $550,000, down from $600,000 in 2016
Cerner: $290,000, up from $200,000 in 2016
Epic Systems: $108,000, down from $144,000 in 2016
McKesson: $1,012,000, down from 1,235,000 in 2016

The numbers for 2017 show most EHR makers trimmed their lobbying spending compared to 2016. Allscripts remained the same, while Cerner is a notable exception for upping its efforts by $90,000 more than in 2016. 

OpenSecrets listed Cerner’s lobbying issues as defense, health, Veterans Affairs, federal budget & appropriations and government issues. 

Cerner, of course, won the massive Defense Department EHR modernization contract, worth an estimated $4.3 billion, in July of 2015. And though the ink is not yet dry on a similar contract with Veterans Affairs, VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, said last June that the agency would also implement Cerner’s EHR.

[Also: How Cerner won the biggest EHR deal ever, twice]

2017 proved to be a year of achievement as well as challenges for health IT vendors. Epic was focused on healthcare reform, monitoring long-term care issues, prescription drug abuse and two new versions of EHRs. An activist investor took a stake in athenahealth sparking takeover rumors. Allscripts CEO Paul Black declared the company would “pull ahead of the pack” after acquiring McKesson’s health IT business.

OpenSecrets does not include information about eClinicalWorks or Meditech lobbying expenditures for 2017.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com