Bill to abolish Oklahoma HIE bites the dust

Yet another health information exchange is under the gun in state legislature, this time in Oklahoma. Republican state Sen. Nathan Dahm introduced a bill against its state HIE, the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust (OHIET).

The bill, filed Feb. 4, 2013, would have required the public trust to cease operations as of Jan. 1, 2014. It also would have halted grants to develop electronic health record information exchanges at the state level.

The bill was prompted by concerns from "conservative grass root campaigns" from groups concerned about the role of OHIET and the privacy of the data, according to an Associated Press article.  

OHIET has provided $12 million in grants to help providers in the state adopt EHRs and share data electronically. Much of the funds have gone to help providers in rural areas.

The bill was defeated in a state senate committee by a tie vote of 4-4; a tie vote means that a bill fails to pass.

This is not the first time Republican lawmakers have challenged health IT initiatives. Federal House and Senate Republicans have called for the suspension of the Meaningful Use program last fall, citing lack of standards and interoperability.

This is the second state measure specifically targeting HIEs this year. A Republican state senator introduced a bill in the Virginia senate in January against its HIE and the federal Meaningful Use program. That bill, too, was killed in committee.

To learn more:
- here's the bill
- read the article