Kansas HIE to turn reins over to state

The Board of directors of Kansas's health information exchange (KHIE) has voted to dissolve itself and turn its operation over to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), according to a report from the Kansas Health Institute (KHI).

KHIE, an independent, quasi public body, has been having trouble getting providers to pay user fees to cover its projected $400,000 annual operating cost once its grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT runs out in 2013. A state-run HIE would cost about $54,000; KDHE anticipates in its transition plan combining the two entities that the change will create first year savings of $232,900 and second year savings of $390,600.

KDHE also points out that the transition makes sense, since KHIE had evolved into a "policy defining entity," and that most of the needed policies had been completed or nearing completion.    

The Kansas Legislature will need to approve the transition, which is expected, according to KHI. 

The dissolution does not indicate that data sharing itself is running into trouble. Wesley Medical Center and Via Christi Health, Kansas' two largest health systems, recently demonstrated their interoperability by sharing data via Wichita HIE, an affiliate of the Kansas Health Information Network. The network is a private HIE created by the Kansas Medical Society and the Kansas Hospital Association. 

However, some HIEs are opting not to continue or are modifying their operations. Tennessee's state HIE disbanded this summer, while California's revised its strategic and operating plan earlier this summer, according to Government Health IT.

To learn more:
- here's the KDHE transition plan
- read the KHI report
- check out this Government Health IT article