Gov. Malloy: Connecticut Receives $12.2 Million to Support the State’s First Health Information Exchange System
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State of Connecticut will receive a $12.2 million grant to support ongoing work that will establish Connecticut’s first statewide health information exchange. The grant, awarded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy (OHS), supports efforts to develop a secure, modern health information exchange that facilitates the sharing of health data to further patient care, improve proper efficiency, and rein in the high cost of healthcare.
“Healthy communities are an important part of a strong economy and building a strong workforce that attracts businesses and spurs job creation,” said Governor Malloy. “Establishing the health information exchange will improve patient care and save valuable time and resources for providers – an important factor in containing healthcare costs. Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy is fighting aggressively to advance access to high-quality healthcare and rein in healthcare spending. Healthcare is a basic human right that should never be out of reach for anyone. I want to especially thank Lt. Governor Wyman, OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri, and Social Services Commissioner Rod Bremby for their leadership on this issue.”
“Healthcare is changing very quickly. Connecticut providers need a modern, clear, and cohesive system for information exchange that ensures timely information to providers so they can deliver the best care quickly,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, who heads Connecticut’s health reform efforts. “Having a health information exchange that works for providers and patients across the state will improve the quality of care for consumers, help us identify gaps in care and healthcare disparities, and get us to lower overall healthcare costs. Connecticut is consistently rated among the top ten states for healthcare in national surveys – we must continue this progress for our residents and for Connecticut’s economy.”
“Through the health information exchange, providers will have quick access to clinical and diagnostic data that gives them a comprehensive picture of their patients – important information that leads to better care, fewer unnecessary tests, and using healthcare dollars more efficiently,” said OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri. “The health information exchange also advances our efforts to improve population health and reduce racial, ethnic, and gender health inequities. I want to thank CMS and the hundreds of community partners, advocates, providers, and experts who continue to work with us to modernize our healthcare in order to deliver better care to patients and help realize our shared goal of health cost-containment.”
“This initiative is absolutely vital to the health of Connecticut residents, especially our older adults with complex and multiple conditions and care needs,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Rod Bremby. “When you have doctors and other health care providers treating various conditions simultaneously – for example, heart, kidney and primary care issues – it is critical that up-to-date information is shared in real time. Medication regimens also must be exchanged, especially when a patient completes a hospital stay or outpatient care. We are also grateful to CMS for its continued investment in the Connecticut Medicaid health information technology infrastructure. This will help Connecticut sustain a leading Medicaid program that has successfully improved patient outcomes while controlling costs.”
Today’s grant follows a $5 million federal investment the state received in 2017 that facilitated health information exchange planning. To qualify for the additional resources, states outlined how their health technology plan would improve disease management, serve the Medicaid population (over 800,000 Connecticut residents), combat the opioid epidemic, and improve overall healthcare through the use of clinical data.
The new round of funding launches a pilot program for the health information exchange, which was one of the nine recommendations made by the Health Information Technology Advisory Council, a statutory body tasked with a comprehensive examination of Connecticut’s current health technology needs.
“The health information exchange will improve care. Providers will be able to exchange clinical and diagnostic data in real time – efficiencies that will save time and resources for healthcare systems and patients,” said OHS Health Information Technology Officer Allan Hackney. “We engaged nearly 300 providers and consumers and 75 organizations across the health sector in Connecticut to help us understand the issues and opportunities for improving care delivery and outcomes. Technology can and should be a great partner in health reform.”
The health information exchange will also enable a platform for measuring clinical quality and more quickly analyzing population health – one of the keys to improving healthcare accessibility and correcting racial, ethnic, and gender health inequities. Currently, analysts most commonly use insurance claims data, which is only a proxy for real-time clinical information. This use of the health information exchange dovetails with the work of OHS’s State Innovation Model Office and the Health Systems Planning Unit in their efforts to better address gaps in healthcare, improve community health, and evaluate the performance of Connecticut’s healthcare providers.
The health information exchange is underpinned by a trust framework that both stipulates the permitted use of data, which is protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and outlines the responsibilities of providers to data exchange. It will be designed in compliance with national standards for security, including HITRUST certification. It is expected to be operational by early 2019.