health care

CurrentCare moves ahead

Posted 1/28/13

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s health information exchange, known as CurrentCare, had a total of 276,279 enrollees as Dec. 31, 2012, according to Lisa DiPrete, director of communications at the Rhode Island Quality Institute, the nonprofit managing the build out.

The exchange is a secure electronic data network to enable doctors and other health care providers access to the most up-to-date health information, in order to promote the best possible care and treatment.

“Enrollment has been a bit slower than anticipated because of our opt-in enrollment process,” DiPrete said. However, she continued, the model, with its privacy and compliance standards, has turned out be an asset. DiPrete said that CurrentCare has been able integrate data from behavioral health with primary care, something that other health information exchanges across the country have not been able to do.

As part of its efforts to generate additional funding resources, the R.I. Quality Institute has asked self-insured companies in Rhode Island to provide support for its efforts. According to DiPrete, there are currently 14 participants in the fundraising effort. “Our goal is to raise $2 million [from self-insured companies] for 2013, and we are at 53 percent of our goal.”

Other sources of income in 2013 under the institute’s “broad-based payer funding model” include $4 million from fully insured companies through Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Tufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare of New England, and $2 million in funding through state and federal Medicaid members.

The R.I. Quality Institute is also engaged in benchmarking outcomes and results through its quality data analytics team, an extension of the work it has done through the Beacon Community Program with the R.I. Chronic Sustainability Initiative.

“Our intention is to continued to develop the analytics work we do going forward,” DeiPrete said, mentioning the potential of working with other clients.

In total, the R.I. Quality Institute currently has 56 employees, according to DiPrete. Its annual budget for fiscal 2013 is about $15 million, with payroll making up approximately $5.3 million of that amount. Laura Adams, the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute, earned $310,360 in salary in 2011.

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The sharing of data is absolutely critical, but the approach is poorly contrived and the cost of this is unbelievably high. To ask self-insured employers to pay additional money to fund its operations is a design for ultimate failure. Moreover, making it opt-in will lead to data bias and insufficient participation. And for a non-profit, the CEO is overpaid. Such a disappointment.

Monday, January 28, 2013 | Report this

This is another story about an organization being funded with tens of millions of dollars over the past years with no product to date. This organization has been receiving funds from the government for years and still can't provide anything to support this funding. I think that Sen. Jack Reed and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse along with our Congressmen should begin a full scale investigation of this group to see how our money has been spent and where this program is headed. Oh....that's right....I understand that this organization has been referred to as "Sheldon's baby" due to the fact that the Senator is responsible for starting this group when he was Attorney General. I call upon the investigation reporters from the Providence Journal and television to look into the inside story of this non-profit and the people who are benefitting from the millions of dollars they have received.

Dick Deery

Monday, January 28, 2013 | Report this

The assertion that there is "no product to date" is seriously misinformed. CurrentCare is providing two valuable services today. The CurrentCare Viewer service enables authorized health care providers to view your clinical information, aggregated from many independent sources. The CurrentCare Hospital Alert notifies your primary care physician as you are admitted to, or discharged from, a hospital. These services became available in 2012. As of today, over 100 practice sites have subscribed to the Viewer and over 50 sites have subscribed to Hospital Alerts. These sites account for hundreds of providers. More providers are signing up for service every week. Why? Because the ones who use these services are discovering their value in providing better and more efficient care for patients.

It is true that CurrentCare is sustained by voluntary payments from self-insured employers and the health insurance plans. Each contributes one dollar per insured person per month - $12 per year. Why do they do so? Because the value is excellent - fewer claims and a healthier workforce add up to much more than $12 per person per year.

Your participation in CurrentCare is voluntary; you must sign up (opt-in) before CurrentCare can collect information about you and release your information to the health care providers who are treating you. Why is it opt-in? Because that is what the community, after a painstaking public process, insisted on and wrote into Rhode Island law back in 2008.

Although opt-in is expensive to administer and slow to take off, it has some important advantages. First, you are assured that information about you will not be collected unless and until you are convinced this can safely and securely lead to better care for you. Second, and highly important, opt-in enables the HIE, CurrentCare, to be a resource for the treatment of behavioral, as well as medical, health conditions. In places where opt-out is the rule, using the HIE to integrate behavioral and medical health care is extremely difficult and very expensive.

CurrentCare is an evolving story. The CurrentCare of today will advance further. What if, for example, CurrentCare could alert more than one care provider, say a cardiologist, as well as your primary care physician?

I believe we are in the midst of a profound change in the way good, high quality health care is delivered. One of the key elements enabling this change is the intelligent use of information and the sharing of information through facilities such as CurrentCare.

Monday, January 28, 2013 | Report this
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