Health Information Technology
The effective use of electronic health records and health information exchange in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can help the state improve care and gain efficiencies. A number of health information technology projects originated in state or federal legislation in 2009.
In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1218, which requires the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to develop a health information exchange system for Medicaid and CHIP. The Electronic Health Information Exchange System Advisory Committee was created to help HHSC develop and implement this exchange. H.B. 1218 also created a Health Information Exchange pilot program to exchange health information between Medicaid and local exchanges.
HHSC also has provided all Medicaid patients with a plastic ID card, which replaces the paper forms that had been issued monthly. Provider and client websites have been created to support the use of the new card and electronic health information. Learn more about the project.
Health IT also is making it easier to prescribe and receive medications. Providers who are authorized to prescribe medication are now able to transmit electronic prescriptions to pharmacies capable of receiving them. Prescribers also have the ability to request Medicaid medication history through an e-prescribing tool, as long as the prescriber has client consent and the client allows Medicaid to share their history.
The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 gives states the opportunity to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide incentive programs for providers and hospitals that achieve meaningful use of certified electronic health records.
Other health IT initiatives at HHSC have been in development or operational for a number of years. Senate Bill 6 from the 2005 Texas Legislature directed HHSC to create an electronic health passport for Medicaid children in foster care.