April 12, 2023
Dr. Jim Wood
Chair, Assembly Committee on Health 1020 N Street, Room 390
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 1331 (Wood): Data Exchange Framework and Trailer Bill Language – Support – with recommendations for amendments
Dear Dr. Wood,
On behalf of Connecting for Better Health, we thank you for your leadership and authorship of AB 1331. This bill will make the needed changes to California law to grant the Center for Data Insights and Innovation (“the Center”) the authority needed to set up a Data Exchange Framework governing board and continue to refine the Data Sharing Agreement and its policies and procedures.
Connecting for Better Health is a coalition representing diverse health care organizations and leaders including consumers, providers, and health plans, that supports the advancement of health data exchange policy in California. Our vision is that every Californian and their care team have the information and insights they need to make health care seamless, high quality, and affordable. A robust Data Exchange Framework is key to advancing this vision, and we appreciate your leadership in moving stakeholder conversations forward on how best to improve California law on the subject. We urge the Assembly Committee on Health, and its partners at the Center for Data Insights and Innovation to consider our proposed recommendations and amendments below that would clarify the required signatories to the Data Sharing Agreement; grant the Center clear statutory authority to interpret state law and issue new rules and regulations; and require a formal mechanism for engaging state agencies and other entities like qualified health information organizations in advisory groups, among other needed changes. We believe these changes strengthen the bill and provide a clearer path forward to encourage entities to sign the Data Sharing Agreement, promote transparent state agency and stakeholder engagement, and allow additional changes to be made to the Data Sharing Agreement and its Policies and Procedures.
Specifically, we recommend the Committee make the following changes:
- Include references to both health and social services information, to reinforce the intent of the Data Exchange Framework to take a whole-person approach to data sharing.
- Provide clear definitions and references for the entities required to sign and share data under the Data Sharing Agreement, in particular leveraging other legal definitions to define required signatories.
- Set new dates for the requirement to sign the Data Sharing Agreement.
- Grant clear authority to the Center to add additional categories of entities to the required list of signatories to the Data Sharing Agreement, and clear authority to promulgate regulations and conduct investigations in relation to the Data Sharing Agreement and its policies and procedures.
- Reduce the number of representatives on the proposed Data Exchange Board, and clarify the intent of establishing the board in advancing California’s health care access, equity, affordability, public health and quality programs and goals, including California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (“CalAIM”).
- Call on the Center to establish a cross-agency task force comprised of representatives from state agencies to coordinate funding and policy strategies related to data sharing, and a Qualified Health Information Advisory Group to provide recommendations on technical standards and policies and procedures affecting the qualified health information organizations that will serve as data sharing intermediaries for signatories to the Data Sharing Agreement.
To that end, please find included below the signature line our recommendations indicated in red for amendments to the Health and Safety Code, based on the Center’s proposed Trailer Bill Language published February 24, 2023.
We thank you for your leadership and consideration of these amendments, and respectfully request an aye vote.
CC: John Ohanian, Director, Center for Data Insights and Innovation DeeAnne McCallin, Deputy Director, Data Exchange Framework