The action will enable Maryland to apply for additional funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which appropriated $300 million to assist HIEs across the nation.
Other states are making moves to position themselves for HIE funding from ARRA. For instance, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue recently signed an executive order creating a commission as the authorized entity to apply for and administer HIE funding under ARRA. And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed legislation to authorize the sending of an application for $25 million in ARRA funds matched with $5 million from the state.
In Maryland, approval of the surcharge comes several weeks after the Maryland Health Care Commission, which is responsible for developing the HIE, named the Chesapeake Regional Information System for Our Patients as the builder of the statewide exchange.
Chesapeake Regional, called CRISP, is an emerging HIE that is not yet operational. It has conducted a demonstration program using the national SureScripts e-prescribing network to provide real-time medication histories of patients being treated in the emergency department at one hospital and several ambulatory sites.
CRISP was one of two emerging HIEs awarded state grants in the spring of 2008 to plan initiatives that could lead to a statewide HIE. The other initiative was the Montgomery County Health Information Exchange Collaborative.
Charter CRISP participants include Erickson Retirement Communities, the University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, and MedStar Health.
Now, the university, Johns Hopkins and MedStar have volunteered a total of about five hospitals where rates will be raised "extra pennies on each of their claims," says David Horrocks, president of CRISP. In turn, insurers operating in the state will raise their payments to these hospitals, which have not yet been identified. So, payers will be funding the start-up of a statewide HIE. Proponents expect to raise the $10 million over the next three years. More information is available at crisphealth.org.
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