Beloved Springfield Doctor Benched For Not Being Proficient with Electronic Medical Records System

-By Warner Todd Huston

A popular, longtime Doctor from central Illinois has been sidelined by employer Springfield-based Memorial Health System because he has not become proficient with the electronic medical records system, named EPIC Systems, that they purchased and implemented. Patients are so incensed that they’ve started a Facebook page as well as a blog to rally to his defense.

This situation brings into focus the problem of top-down medical solutions, calling into question the efficacy of healthcare by committee, not to mention Obmacare itself. Do we really want to sacrifice good doctors in favor of good followers of top-down rules? Do we want good users of computers or excellent doctors?

The doctor, Steven Kottemann, 63, was placed on paid administrative leave in September because they felt he was not properly utilizing the new electronic medical records system that his employer, Family Medical Center, instituted.

Kotteman initially tried to upload verbal recordings of his notes made when meeting with patients, but the system failed to accept the recordings. The only other option was to type in by hand all his patient notes. Kottemann tried to input the notes while actually with his patients but eventually came to feel that typing at a computer while trying to give care to his patients was not conducive to good care.

Dr. Kottemann then began staying late after office hours to type in all the notes but due to a stroke of his own the effort became too much for him.

“It got to the point where I was going in seven days a week to keep up,” Kottemann told the State-Register newspaper.

For its part, the employer says that Kottemann’s lack of proficiency with the computer system was not the only reason they fired him but Memorial Medical Center refused to comment further on this story when I contacted them.

Kottemann’s patients, though, are not as reluctant to comment. His patients have become incensed that their favorite doctor has been fired merely because he doesn’t meet administrator’s expectations for computer savvy.

They started a blog to come to his aid. There blog one patient praised Dr. Kottemann saying, “I don’t need a 15 min Dr, or a computer whiz… I need a doctor that cares about me and my family. I have that in Dr. Kottemann.”

There are other equally laudatory entries.

Kottemann is now afraid to say much about this incident because lawyers are involved, so he demurred fro offering a comment for this story.

But the upshot of this whole thing is that good care seems to be being sacrificed to push electronic medical records systems. This is happening across the country, too. We have hospital administrators driving hard to implement Obama’s medical records solution — such as the one called EPIC Systems being pushed by his medical records czar, Judith Faulkner. In an “epic” act of self-interest, Faulkner is also the CEO of EPIC Systems. And in so doing they are acing out excellent doctors whose only deficit is that they are not proficient with the new records technology.

Are we really willing to stand by as Obama’s representatives bully those good doctors that criticize these electronic medical records systems? Are we willing to sacrifice good doctors for merely competent computer jockeys?

About Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's, and all Breitbart News' other sites,,, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.
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13 Responses to Beloved Springfield Doctor Benched For Not Being Proficient with Electronic Medical Records System

  1. Excellent article! Thank you for posting and thanks for the links.

  2. Bonnie Frawley says:

    Dr. Kottemann is genuine in every aspect. Memorial’s priority is not patient care. Thank you so much for the article.

  3. Diane Martin says:

    I am glad to see more on this subject. We can’t let the bureaucrats behind the desk control what happens in our dr. offices. If you have done so or even if you have not, PLEASE send more letters even if they are repeats. Our voices must be heard.

  4. Steve Waterworth says:

    Blaming this particular situation on Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare plan shows a remarkable lack of intelligence and common sense. It’s a local management or mismanagement situation on the part of Memorial and that’s all that it is.

  5. wanda grimm says:

    Thank you Steve W you said it perfectly.

  6. Marilyn Montgomery says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article. Dr. Kottermann is an excellent Doctor who cares about his patients and goes above and beyond to provide the type of medical care we deserve. I don’t want a doctor who says your 15 minutes starts now and then stares/types into a computer while I am trying to describe my problem. Again, thank you for making the general public aware of what they are facing in the future.

  7. Georgia Allison says:

    This is a wonderful article!! I think this is a start to how Obamacare is going to effect us locally.

  8. Laura says:

    My parents have gone to Dr. Kotteman for many years and are outraged at the blatant agism being perpetrated against him as well as two other mds in their Jacksonville clinic. Additionally, his patients are being told they will not be able to choose their own dr but will “be assigned to a provider.” Apparently, patient rights as defined by JCAHO do not apply to Memorial Medical Center. However as an RN of 35 years, I heartily protest the position that this can be laid at the feet of our President. Medical care has been moving toward computerization for at least 15 years. ICD-9 codes for billing were instituted over 20 years ago, when the President was still in law school.

  9. This is exactly the sleazy methodology being used to “eliminate” physicians not marching in-step with administrators, who on average last 18-24 months at any hospital system. The net damage being done here is that patients are losing their choice of what appears to be a compassionate and capable physician. Chalk another up to “Big Brother” and the tail wagging the dog . . Administrators don’t treat patients, Physicians do. And is this case, Judith Faulkner of EPIC systems is just another talking head trying to gain money and favor by manipulating the political system . . Shame on all of them ! ! !