Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Washington State News

The Washington State Health Care Authority has selected Deloitte Consulting LLP as the successful vendor to design, develop, and implement the state’s Health Benefit Exchange IT system with a $23 million grant. The Authority will begin contact negotiations and hopes to begin the project with the vendor in February.

A nine member governing board appointed by Governor Gregoire in December will begin to govern the program in March 2012. The Board will oversee ongoing design and development activities and eventually be responsible for the operation of the Exchange. The Board will also provide input on any further legislation needed to move the project forward and also help shape the state’s request for additional federal funding available this year.

The Health Care Authority has also announced that five health plans have been evaluated and are qualified as successful bidders on 2012-2013 contracts that will provide managed care for more than 700,000 Medicaid clients and Basic Health subscribers in the state.

The health plans include Amerigroup, Community Health Plan of Washington, Coordinated Care Corporation, Molina Healthcare of Washington, and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. Two other health plans that bid on the contracts were Premera and Columbia United Providers. The next step is to finalize the contracts with the successful bidders, a step the Health Care Authority expects to complete by the end of February.

Doug Porter, Director of the Health Care Authority said, “Washington State contracts drew national attention since health plans across the country are eyeing the increased enrollment anticipated by Medicaid programs once national healthcare reform raises eligibility standards, effective January 1, 2014.

Washington State’s Beacon Community of Inland Northwest (BCIN) recently released their 2011 Annual Report with a section on the use of technology in BCIN. According to the report, 48 technical assessments were made at clinics, hospitals, and physician offices around the region.

Some of the specific projects included:

• The Enterprise Master Patient Index containing patient demographic information was evaluated. The Index brings the records into one view allowing the clinical staff to see the full continuum of care for the patient

• Developing interface standards to be used by any facility sending any type of data to the data repository regardless of the system

• Being able to send data electronically between BCIN and the information systems at eleven hospitals and physician offices.

• Developing a disease management tool to allow data from the clinical data repository to flow into a patient’s specific algorithm to help care-coordinators determine the best approach to use

• Completing the full implementations of the technology needed at two clinics and two hospitals

• Developing a technical training program with supporting guidebooks to teach clinic staff how to use needed technical tools

BCIN is in the process of creating a report engine to allow for Business Intelligence Reporting, and is also developing a web-based Patient Portal that will enable patients to become more involved in their care and provide information to their caregivers.