In the realm of health care, a prominent trend seen in the month of October was an increase in the number of initiatives revolving around "meaningful use" and enhancements in electronic health record (EHR) interoperability. The gradual adoption of health information technology (HIT) across states has shifted focus on the level of proficiency in data sharing. This newfound spotlight on interoperability has facilitated a more statewide adoption kind of approach where states are now looking to synthesize systems in conjunction with ensuring compliance with the Office of National Coordinator's (ONC) once those standards are finalized. Just recently, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $564 million has been set aside to award states whose plans are to adopt state health information exchange (HIE) systems. The grant, known as the Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement, was due on October 16, 2009. Additionally, as part of the federal economic stimulus package, the incentive funds will go to physicians and hospitals who demonstrate meaningful use of their EHRs. States such as Connecticut are now considering further avenues of HIT adoption within their state as a result of possible increases in funding.
Also noteworthy, is the trend seen in some states in utilizing a more regional health information exchange. This allows for standardization while adopting these systems to further enhance the degree of interoperability across regions. By doing this, states are allowed to share EHR with more ease. Funding for adoption of this kind of system has been used as an incentive for states to develop systems complaint with the standards. For that, states such as Colorado, Wyoming and Iowa are developing consulting procurements that will impact HIT standards in addition to HIPAA.
Here are several states in the process of planning statewide HIE systems including:
- Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is developing an advisory committee to provide recommendations, and has applied for ARRA funding under the Cooperative Agreement for State HIE
- Alaska- The Alaska eHealth Network (AeHN) is currently engaged in the review process to connect community providers and hospitals across the state
– The Department of Public Health (DPH) is undergoing strategic planning and has applied for federal funding under the Cooperative Agreement for State HIE.
- New Jersey
– The Department of Health and Senior Services is engaged in strategic planning for their statewide system and have applied for federal funding under the Cooperative Agreement for State HIE.
– The Chesapeake Regional Information System for Our Patients (CRISP) is engaged in a three-stage technology procurement approach which incorporates a statewide HIE system.
– The Ohio Health Information partnership (OHIP) has plans on releasing a solicitation for their HIE after receipt of stimulus funding.
Budget issues has stifled execution of proposals for statewide HIE services in many states. Iowa has held off solicitation for the actual HIE system services, and does not plan on releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) until sometime in April 201o, in which GovWin will be tracking here
. Instead, the state has engaged in consultative/project manager-natured requests. Many states are creating procurements similar to these as part of their plans to revamp existing systems and create new ones. Also, with the upcoming volume of states structuring HIE systems, vendors can expect to see requests for services revolving around quality assurance and/or independent verification and validation testing. Some states have already voiced the possibility of these types of services including Connecticut who may have a requirement for quality assurance on their future system. GovWin will be tracking the project here.
Here are some health care-related award highlights seen in the month of October:
– Third Party Review for Monitoring Health Care Services to Prisons; Awarded to Health Management Associates in the amount of, $2,597,861
– Data Collection Support and Analytic Report Development; Awarded to Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. in the amount of $3,830,109
On the social services side, Indiana faced serious penalties stemming from failure in reducing the rate of error in their welfare system. The ten-year, $1.34 billion contract with IBM, was terminated by Governor Mitch Daniels on October 15, 2009, in which services are expected to be resumed under a new contract with ACS and other companies. The new vendors will have to design a hybrid structure incorporating elements of the IMB-structured system that worked and redesigning parts of the legacy that did not.
On a lighter note, the Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS) project is nearing its closing period for proposals. The project entails software development and technical support services for the maintenance and ongoing support of the TIERS for State health and human services programs. TIERS serves as the modernized replacement for the Texas System for Application, Verification, Eligibility, Referral, and Reporting (SAVERR). GovWin estimates the contract value of this opportunity to be approximately $400 million. Proposals are due on November 12, 2009 by 3 PM. GovWin is currently tracking this project here.
Here are some award highlights seen in the month of October relating to social services:
– Child Care Time and Attendance Tracking System; Awarded to Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) in the amount of $13,000,661
- New York
– Statewide Welfare Management System Functional Roadmap (SWMS); Awarded to First Data Government Solutions in the amount of $8,193,025
As far as upcoming projects, Pennsylvania has plans to develop consulting services for four main areas including eligibility systems, management IT, case management IT, and child welfare IT. These procurements may additionally require quality assurance testing and maintenance operations as well. GovWin is currently tracking this project here
Further, the month of October did not reap as many large-scale awards as in previous months, which could very well be a result funding obstacles brought about by the recession. What has been seen is the boost in funds funneled towards areas, especially in health care, to help stimulate technological advancements and exchange across states. With the increased number of systems being used in states' health and human services departments, it is no surprise that much thought is being placed on how these systems can be integrated and used across settings.