Two Calif. Blues plans to launch info ex­change

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Joseph Conn

Cal­i­for­nia’s two Blues in­sur­ers are com­mit­ting $80 mil­lion to launch a new health in­for­ma­tion ex­change, which they hope will ini­tially at­tract more than 30 of the state’s largest health­care provider or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The not-for-profit Cal­i­for­nia In­te­grated Data Ex­change, known as Cal IN­DEX, was started last week by An­them Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Cal­i­for­nia. Pro­po­nents say they hope to pro­vide on­line ac­cess to the records of 9 mil­lion peo­ple us­ing in­sur­ance claims and clin­i­cal records.

Af­ter Cal IN­DEX’s first three years, providers will be ex­pected to pay sub­scrip­tion fees to fund its con­tin­ued op­er­a­tions. It will be open to all health­care data con­trib­u­tors, or­ga­niz­ers said.

Se­cur­ing long-term fund­ing has been a stum­bling block for many HIEs, which have drawn on $564 mil­lion in fed­eral stim­u­lus fund­ing. “We hope that physi­cians, nurses, hos­pi­tals, re­gional HIEs, health sys­tems and ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions will … join us and im­prove the health of Cali- for­ni­ans,” said Paul Markovich, CEO of Blue Shield of Cal­i­for­nia.

Cal­i­for­nia has seen sev­eral HIEs fiz­zle in the past. The new ex­change raises hopes that in­ter­op­er­abil­ity across Cal­i­for­nia may fi­nally be at hand.

“The ques­tion is, what will providers think?” said Dr. David Brailer, the first chief of the fed­eral health IT of­fice. “Cal­i­for­nia is a provider-pow­er­ful state.”

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