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California Shifts HIE Leadership

May 21, 2012
by David Raths
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Cal eConnect ‘not able to move fast enough’

The turmoil surrounding the development of a statewide health information exchange in California has led to another significant change. The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) announced last week that the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the University of California-Davis will take over HIE implementation from Cal eConnect, the Emeryville, Calif.-based non-profit, public benefit corporation created to develop California's HIE.

A joint statement from California Health & Human Services and Cal eConnect noted that the Cal eConnect Board determined that as a startup with a large board, it was “not able to move fast enough to implement approved programs, according to a report in California Healthline, a publication of the California HealthCare Foundation.

In the written statement, Pamela Lane, the deputy secretary of California's health information exchange, said that "Given the administrative requirements and short timeframe remaining for the agreement, Cal eConnect determined in their May 11 board meeting that the next phase of implementation would be best managed by an organization with capacity to continue implementing the HIE programs. All programs are on track and moving forward as planned.”

Leadership at Cal eConnect has been in flux for some time. Its first CEO, Carladenise Edwards, resigned in 2011 after a little more than a year in the position. In March, only 11 days after Cal eConnect named Ted Kremer as the organization’s new president and CEO, he decided to withdraw and remain at the helm of a local regional health information organization in Rochester, N.Y.

The Institute for Population Health Improvement is led by Kenneth Kizer, M.D., M.P.H., who previously served as chairman, president and CEO of Medsphere Systems Corp., a commercial provider of open source healthcare information technology. Previously, Kizer was the founding president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based quality improvement and consensus standards setting organization and before that he served as the Under Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he led the VA’s transition to electronic health records and health information exchange in the late 1990s.

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