– CMS awards the state of Montana with a $19M grant to support a statewide health information exchange (HIE).
– Montana Governor Steve Bullock names Big Sky Care Connect as the operator of the statewide HIE.
– Big Sky Care Connect plans to start sharing healthcare data in 2020.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced the state has received $19 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to support a statewide health information exchange (HIE). The funding is provided through a 90/10 federal match. The statewide HIE will give providers access to patient data in real-time with participating provider across the state to improve the quality of care and reduce healthcare costs.
Big Sky Care Connect Named Montana’s Statewide HIE
As part of the CMS grant, Governor Bullock signed an executive order designating Big Sky Care Connect as the statewide HIE. Big Sky Care Connect will connect records from pharmacies, labs and imaging, urgent care, specialists, doctor offices and hospitals and other providers such as dentists and optometrists. Without a statewide HIE, records are shared by fax, mailing printed copies, and limited secure direct messaging.
Statewide HIE Benefits for Patients & Providers
Providers will now be able to have a complete picture of a patient’s health before recommending treatment. For example, if a patient can’t remember all the medication they are taking, the provider would be able to see the patient’s prescription history to ensure a new medication won’t cause a dangerous reaction. Making records electronically available statewide will also prevent unnecessary or duplicative procedures or testing to reduce costs. In addition, the statewide HIE will also help providers better understand the health of a specific population and coordinate a faster response.
The Bigger Picture
Governor Bullock tasked the Governor’s Council on Health Care Innovation in 2015 with looking for ways to establish a statewide health information exchange to improve patient care, save time and resources for providers, and reduce costs. After a feasibility study conducted determined an HIE was viable, a coalition of healthcare providers and public and private health plans moved forward with forming nonprofit organization Big Sky Care Connect to develop a health information exchange.
“If we are going to ensure patients receive superior care and reduce burdening health care costs, we have to finally move into the 21st century and go beyond paper health records,” said Governor Bullock. “A statewide health information exchange brings providers together to collectively use common sense and secure technology to improve health outcomes for Montanans.”
Big Sky Care Connect HIE Rollout Schedule
Big Sky Care Connect is working with data privacy and security experts to select a technology vendor that specializes in creating secure systems to manage health care data. Big Sky Care Connect plans to start sharing healthcare data in 2020.
“We’re grateful to Governor Bullock and the Department for their support,” said Dr. Jon Griffin. “Big Sky Care Connect is going to help everyone – providers, hospitals, insurers, and patients – give and receive their best care Montana has to offer. This is an exciting first step into the future of health care in Montana.”