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California HIE Grants Target Rural Providers, Analytics Tools

January 25, 2013
by David Raths
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Future funding to support urban safety net in Los Angeles County, data exchange to enhance care coordination

The agency charged with boosting health information exchange in California has announced two new grant programs targeting rural HIEs and innovations in data analytics.

A notice sent out Jan. 25 by the California Health eQuality (CHeQ) program managed by the University of California-Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement (IPHI) says the Rural HIE Incentive Program seeks to establish an ongoing mechanism and structure through which rural medical communities may evaluate and contract with pre-selected HIE service providers.

CHeQ said it would award contracts to a small number of HIE service providers to subsidize implementation of HIE services for qualifying rural health care providers. Applicants must describe and price their services for directed exchange and/or query-based exchange, with an option to also address services enabling patient access to information. CHeQ has allocated up to $1 million for this program and anticipates making awards to as many as five HIE service providers.

CHeQ is also seeing to allocate $300,000 for up to two Innovation in Data Analytics awards that will provide funding to health information organizations and providers to implement data analytics tools to better manage shared patient populations served by three or more unaffiliated health care provider organizations or systems. These electronic tools should support health maintenance and disease prevention services and chronic disease management, and they should align with emerging care delivery and value-based payment models such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations. CHeQ is especially interested in projects that focus on high-impact conditions and/or medically underserved populations.

Requests for proposals (RFPs) for these funding opportunities will be posted on the IPHI websiteno later than Jan. 31, 2013. Completed proposals for awards in both categories will be due on Feb. 28, 2013.

In October 2012, CHeQ’s director, Kenneth Kizer, M.D., said his organization would seek to identify opportunities to leverage the synergies between HIE and other health improvement efforts that have their own funding streams. As examples, he mentioned population-based health efforts such as Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles, VA-Medicare dual eligibles, and prison health populations. Other partnerships could involve conditions such as cancer and diabetes or settings of care such as emergency care.

“We will also create a California HIE ecosystem to nurture innovation and creativity and support deployment activities,” Kaiser said at the time. Following up on that promise, CHeQ will roll out two additional award programs in February. One will support expansion of HIE for the urban safety-net in Los Angeles County, and the other will address the exchange of data to support care coordination for medically complex populations (e.g., Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible beneficiaries).

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