States: Call to Action

On June 22, 2015, ONC released the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) www.grants.gov “Interoperability Roadmap Call to Action; Alleviating and Removing Barriers to Interoperable Exchange of Data for Health within States” with estimated funding of $325,000 with the closing date of August 24, 2015.

ONC www.healthit.gov published their findings that showed that potential exchangers of data are confused about privacy laws and regulations. This confusion results in part from a diverse set of privacy laws that are enacted by states in addition to the federal health privacy law of HIPAA.

Therefore, the next step for ONC is to bring together an appropriate group of state health policy leaders to better understand real and perceived barriers to interoperability that are within the state’s purview to address while respecting individual privacy rights.

The goal is to provide a venue where state policy makers from the states, including policy-makers from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Model (CMMI SIM) http://innovation.cms.gov program can focus on the impact of disparate state privacy laws and understand how it affects the interoperable exchange of health information.

The program will involve four phases to include Phase I to convene expert roundtables, Phase II to provide for in-depth learning and dialog, Phase III to compile the information from Phase I and Phase II to use to develop a State Roadmap, and Phase IV would require an Implementation Report due to ONC by October 2016.

The designated organization to receive the funding to administer the “Interoperability Roadmap with States” project is the National Governors Association (NGA) www.nga.org. NGA will administer the development of the project, as NGA has had first-hand experience with the complex health privacy rules environment that exist today in the states.

NGA was specifically selected since NGA runs the Center for Best Practices www.nga.org/cms/center with a division that supports governors and their advisors on health issues with information, research, policy analysis, technical assistance, along with additional resources.

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