Thursday, January 16, 2014

Texas Awards TEF Grant To Athenahealth

Governor Rick Perry's office announced plans to award $5 million to Athenahealth, a medical records management company.

In a press release issued Jan 15th, Gov. Perry announced the $5 million Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) "investment" to Athenahealth to assist in the company's planned expansion in the Austin, TX area. The expansion is expected to generate over $13 million in new capital and over 600 new jobs in Texas.

Perry stated:

"The Texas model of low taxes, smart regulations and fair courts continues to attract world-class companies like athenahealth looking to expand their operations. This TEF investment will create hundreds of high-paying tech jobs in Austin, building on the city's thriving technology sector and strengthening the state and local economies."

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush made the following remarks:

"We're thrilled at the prospect of growing our presence in Austin, a city with a culture and vibe that perfectly aligns with our own. Athenahealth is growing all across the country as we work to fulfill our vision of becoming a national information backbone to make health care work as it should. Austin offers a strong talent pool to aid in the important work we do at athenahealth to advance connectivity in health care."
Athenahealth's main products revolve around medical record keeping. The company stores and maintains patient medical records (Electronic Health Records or EHR), medical practice and billing management records, and doctor-patient communications in a digital cloud. This enables medical records to be more readily available to healthcare providers. Digital cloud storage with backup redundancy can mitigate the loss or mishandling of medical records.

However, in the times where digital identity theft, "hacktivism", and internet fraud seem rampant, many patients worry about the confidentiality and security of their records. It is highly unlikely that criminals would respect such privacy or the HIPAA laws.Athenahealth works to increase both efficiency in medical administration as well as security of records.

Johnathan S. Bush, CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board 

The man's name should immediately raise some questions for Texans.

Johnathan S. Bush is the son of banker Johnathan Bush, President George H. W. Bush's brother and President George W. Bush's uncle.

Johnathan S. Bush, like his uncle George (and his cousin, George) served in the US Military. During Operation Desert Storm, Bush served as a US Army Combat Medic, as an E-3/PFC. Bush later worked as an EMT in New Orleans. He eventually graduated from Harvard University with an MBA. He also worked with defense contractor Booze, Allan, Hamilton.

He started  athenahealth in 1997. He then boosted the company in 2000 by raising $10 million in venture capital, then issued an IPO in 2007 taking the company public.

With ties to such a prominent Texas business and political family, the TEF grant may raise some eyebrows. However, others may look upon Johnathan S. Bush and athenahealth as just another example of Texan exceptionalism.