Health Information Exchange Featured Article

September 06, 2012

HIEs and HIXs Moving Forward in Some States, Not in Others

Some states are moving forward with setting up their health information exchanges (HIE), as required by the Affordable Care Act, although some are still fighting the development of health insurance exchanges (HIX), also required by the act.

The West Virginia Health Information Network has begun piloting its HIE platform with Medicaid, public health agencies, Wheeling Hospitals and West Virginia University Healthcare, according to a story at Information is being gathered on more than 2.1 million patients, including 37 million distinct lab results, 96 million diagnoses, 2.4 million allergies, and 88 million distinct patient visit histories over six years.

In Michigan, though Republicans in the Legislature remain split on building a health insurance exchange (HIX), a pool from which residents can pick health insurance policies, GOP Gov. Rick Snyder has decided to let the federal government step in to build and operate the state’s HIX.

Under the act, those states which choose not to set one up themselves will be overseen by Washington.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate last year passed legislation authorizing a state exchange, but the Republican-controlled House has held up the bill, with many of the members fearing for their election chances, and hoping the mandate goes away if former Gov. Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November.

Many states are still balking at the requirement to form HIXs. Republican governors in four immediately said they would not participate in setting one up and others have joined in.

Gov. Dave Heineman yesterday brought up his concerns about whether a state-based health insurance exchange would be a wise course for Nebraska during a day-long public hearing on the issue.

And on the federal level, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have selected 500 primary care practices in seven regions to participate in the new Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, a multi-payer and provider accountable care organization that can only go forward with health information technology.

CMS estimates about 2,100 providers will serve 313,000 Medicare beneficiaries under the four-year initiative, authorized under the Affordable Care Act.

Edited by Braden Becker