Thursday, 28 March 2019

Important Update About House Bill 70 (HB70) and NC Health Information Exchange Authority and HealthConnex

Posted in ADA News

Important Update About House Bill 70 (HB70) and NC Health Information Exchange Authority and HealthConnex

What is the NC Health Information Exchange Authority (HIEA)?
The North Carolina General Assembly created the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority (NC HIEA) to oversee and administer the state-designated HIE (NCGS 90-414.7). NC HIEA receives input and advice from its Advisory Board, which consists of patients, hospital personnel, physicians, technology experts, public health officials and other key stakeholders to continuously improve the HIE network, now called NC HealthConnex, and to move towards more efficient and effective care.

What is NC Health Connexx?
NC HealthConnex is a secure electronic network that facilitates conversations between health care providers, allowing them to access and share health-related information across the state.

Created by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGS 90-414.7), NC HealthConnex is the state-designated health information exchange. It is managed by the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority (NC HIEA), housed within the N.C. Department of Information Technology.

Who is CURRENTLY Required to Connect to NC Health Connexx?
All health care providers who receive state funds (e.g., Medicaid, NC Health Choice, State Health Plan, etc.) for the provision of health care services must connect to NC HealthConnex by specific dates in 2018 and 2019 to continue to receive payments for services provided (NCSL 2015-241 as amended by NCSL 2017-57).

Specifically:

  • Hospitals, physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who provide Medicaid services and who have an electronic health record system must connect by June 1, 2018.
  • All other providers of Medicaid and state-funded services must connect by June 1, 2019. Note...state funded services currently means ANY state program, including Vocational Rehabilitation, NCTEDP, Independent Living, and the provision of services to patients who have the BCBS State Health Plan.
  • Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LMEs/MCOs) are required to submit encounter and claims data by June 1, 2020.
  • Providers who do not receive state funding for the provision of health care services may also connect to the NC HIEA on a voluntary basis to support whole-person care.

What does this mean for audiologists?
Any audiologist who receives any state funds, including:

  • Medicaid
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program
  • NCTEDP Program
  • Reimbursements for seeing patients with BCBS State Health Plan
  • Independent Living Rehabilitation Program

MUST Connect to the NC Health Connexx Program.... UNLESS HB70 passes

It would require you to obtain an electronic medical records system (EMR) and eventually make daily reports (supposedly automated) to the NC Health Connexx database through your EMR system.

What does HB70 do?
HB70 is a law that is apparently up for vote this Wednesday (pending changes). The law would exempt certain providers, including audiologists, from the law.

What should I do?
If you work for a large practice or health system that serves Medicaid patients...you are extremely likely to be already enrolled by your administrators.

If you work for a smaller practice, or private practice who who does NOT serve medicaid patients, BCBS State Health Plan patients, and who does NOT participate in any state program...you do not need to do anything.

If you work for a smaller practice or private practice and DO accept reimbursements from any of those programs listed above, you have a few options:

  1. Fill out the participation agreement linked below and submit it before June 1st, 2019. You will be automatically granted an extension until June 1st 2020 to comply with the law. Or...
  2. Wait until HB70 comes up for vote. If it passes and audiologists are exempted, you will not have to do anything.Or...
  3. Call or email your representative and urge them to pass HB70; wait for the outcome before you do anything.

How do I get in touch with my legislators?

  1. Go to openstates.org
  2. Search for your legislators by your address
  3. Click on your legislators profile
  4. Phone number and email are listed
  5. Contact them

PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT
If you would like to participate in the NC Connexx System regardless of whether or not HB70 passes or not, please click below to access the application.

If HB70 does NOT pass, you will need to download and return this application to participate in the program, as you will be mandated by law to do so to receive reimbursements by the involved agencies.