If you haven’t heard yet, North Carolina has taken a big step towards connecting and sharing health information for providers who bill to Medicaid. The North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE) is still enroute to its February 1, 2018 deadline that will require all Medicaid providers to connect to the NC HIE if they want to receive payments for the Medicaid services they provide.
This means that all providers who intend to receive payments from Medicaid will need an Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform that can connect or is already connected with the NC HIE. Starting June 1, 2018, the connect requirement will extend to all entities looking to receive any state funds for delivering health services, which would include managed care organizations and management entities or related groups. This is an important NC Medicaid update and while this particular date is for NC providers only, it is a theme in the future of healthcare. The push for Interconnectivity will be more widespread throughout the nation as information sharing becomes inextricably linked to better patient care and safety.
Many other states are also beginning to require connection to State and Regional HIEs to improve data sharing amongst providers in different health departments, community health centers, and even private practices. Medicaid and Medicare are already providing the catalysts for pushing these connections as they serve patients who typically see many providers.
Not every EHR has the capability of connecting with HIE, so it is important to verify this capability before pulling the trigger on a new software or assuming your current software is willing and able to connect. Any EHR you choose as a Medicaid provider also needs to be federally certified, ensuring your compliance with other Medicaid and Medicare requirements and mandates. Not every EHR is created equal, so be sure to do your due diligence and research before committing to a system that cannot get you where you need to be. To check if an EHR is federally certified, you can go to the Certified Health IT Product List.
For more information on the NC Health Information Exchange, visit their website
For more information on Medicaid requirements in your state, visit your state CMS website