• California Regional Health Information Organization Disbands
  • January 28, 2010 | Author: Christopher P. Kenny
  • Law Firm: King & Spalding LLP - Washington Office
  • The board of directors of the California Regional Health Information Organization (CalRHIO) voted to disband on January 12 after failing to become the state’s designated health information exchange governance organization eligible for funding under the HITECH Act.

    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced in August 2009 the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program, a grant program authorized by the HITECH Act to award funding to health information exchanges designated by the states (or to state governments themselves) to develop and expand the infrastructure necessary to coordinate health information exchange throughout each state. Only one entity may receive such a designation in each state.

    CalRHIO, which had been in operation since 2005, voted to disband when state officials opted not to award the state-designated status to the non-profit. Another exchange, the California eHealth Collaborative, had been in talks with CalRHIO to combine operations, according to a statement posted on CalRHIO’s Web site available by clicking here, and apply for the designation as a joint entity. When talks between the two exchanges faltered, state officials decided to seek funding through a separate, government-run exchange.

    The California eHealth Collaborative, meanwhile, has announced that it will apply for funding under the HITECH Act’s regional extension center program, which awards funds to non-profits to provide on-the-ground support and educational resources to help hospitals and eligible professionals become meaningful users of electronic health records. Funding awards for both programs are expected to be announced this month.