States look to boost HIE initiatives with federal funding

Data sharing
States can bolster HIEs with federal funding that covers 90% of administrative costs.

In an effort to attract more providers to publicly run health information exchanges (HIEs), states are taking advantage of federal financial assistance that covers 90% of administrative costs.

The number of public HIEs has been declining over the last several years, in part because of low participation and a lack of funding. But some states are looking to counteract financial concerns with federal funding through the Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program, according to Health Data Management. Authorized by the HITECH Act, the federal government covers 90% of administrative funding for HIE activities, while states cover the remaining 10%. The funding assists with incorporating providers into the state’s HIE and making infrastructure improvements.

In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded its interpretation for program eligibility, citing the importance of Meaningful Use Stages 2 and 3. Hospitals are investing heavily in privately run HIEs in 2017 following concerns over data sharing and interoperability.

RELATED: Declining number of public HIEs raises concerns about interoperability

George Beckett, chief business development officer for CedarBridge Group, told Health Data Management that state HIEs need to “go big or go home” by demonstrating their value to large health systems with comprehensive IT departments that are weighing the value of publicly run exchanges. 

RELATED: How New York RHIO tackles patient matching

He notes that North Dakota’s HIE has recruited nearly every provider in the state by making infrastructure improvements using federal funds. In a recent Q&A with FierceHealthIT, the CEO of Healthix, New York’s largest Regional Health Information Organization, explained how it has made software upgrades to address patient matching concerns.