Sens. Call on GAO To Investigate State Health Data Exchanges

January 13, 2015 in News

Three senators have asked the Government Accountability Office to review the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s state health information exchange program, Healthcare Informatics reports.

Background

Under the 2009 HITECH Act, the HIEs received nearly $600 million. The ONC program — which launched in 2010 and funded HIEs in 56 states and territories — ended last year (Perna, Healthcare Informatics, 1/9). According to Politico Pro, the program had mixed results (Pittman, Politico Pro, 1/8).

In a recent report by NORC at the University of Chicago, researchers examined HIEs in:

  • Iowa;
  • Mississippi;
  • New Hampshire;
  • Utah;
  • Vermont; and
  • Wyoming(iHealthBeat, 12/31/14).

They concluded that the program had made progress in terms of statewide data exchange efforts but that even the states that were relatively far along faced technical and sustainability challenges (Healthcare Informatics, 1/9).

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s HIE dissolved in 2012 after receiving $11.6 million in federal grants, while Connecticut’s HIE shutdown last year after receiving $4.3 million over four years (Politico Pro, 1/8).

Lawmakers Press for Review

A spokesperson for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked GAO to review ONC’s the health data exchange program.

A GAO spokesperson said the review already is underway (Gold et al., “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 1/9).

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