March 31, 2021
The Honorable Assemblymember Dr. Jim Wood
Chair, Assembly Health Committee
State Capitol, Room 6005
Re: AB 1131 (Wood) – Health Information Network
Dear Chair Wood and Vice Chair Mayes,
We, the undersigned organizations, are coming together as a coalition to express our strong support for the creation of a statewide health information exchange (HIE) network in California, and for Assembly Bill 1131 (Wood).
Even as health records are being digitized, they are still siloed by each health system, pharmacy, lab and health plan, making delivery of care at best inefficient, or at worst fatal. Patients are left scrambling to collect and share their records and communicate key facts, an onerous ordeal especially in an emergency. Hospitals and doctor’s offices still rely on fax machines to send and receive medical records, a technology most industries have not used since the 90s. Crucial and seemingly simple steps—such as making sure primary care providers know when a patient’s COVID-19 test results are available—do not always happen. It is time to change that, by developing and executing an effective statewide health information exchange, which would support the electronic exchange of health information among, and aggregate and integrate data from, multiple sources, within California.
Our goals are simple and profound. When patients seek care, the whole care team should have the insights they need to provide seamless, effective and high-quality care. Public health teams should be able to anticipate, track and respond to health outbreaks. These changes will save lives and make healthcare more affordable, including by reducing readmissions, medical errors and redundant procedures.
There is already robust support for health information exchange. Regional leaders have set up their own successful local initiatives, which can be unified and streamlined through this proposal. A broad coalition of stakeholders are mobilizing support behind a statewide approach. The Governor’s budget proposal which includes a strategy for creating an HIE network is the right move at the right time—as does Assembly Bill 1131. All of this support collectively creates a path for a statewide network that will support our coalition’s policy goals:
- Ensure every provider and health plan shares needed data so that the whole care team, regardless of where they are in the state, has the information they need to serve their patients.
- Cement an ongoing source of funding. Other states have leveraged available federal funding to build robust health information exchange infrastructure. It is time for California to do the same.
- Build needed statewide infrastructure while leveraging regional efforts, making sure every stakeholder has the appropriate support to participate.
Studies have shown that the seamless, safe, and secure sharing of health information is associated with improved patient care and reduced redundant services and its associated costs. We cannot delay a statewide health information exchange network any longer.
AB 1131 aligns with our policy goals and will set the necessary groundwork to create a statewide HIE network in California. We strongly support this legislation. AB 1131 calls on the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) to establish a statewide health information network and would require providers, health plans, and the Department of Health Care Services, among others, to participate in the network. This critical action will ensure care teams have the information they need to serve patients at the point of care. The bill additionally calls on CHHS to draw down available federal funding, which will be key to making the operation of the network sustainable. Lastly, AB 1131 leverages existing data sharing infrastructure across California by allowing participants the option to share data with the statewide network through regional health information organizations and commercial entities. Beyond meeting our coalition’s policy goals, provisions of the bill focused on the establishment of an advisory committee, the collection of race and ethnicity data, and annual reporting will help the state to achieve its public health, Medi-Cal transformation and health equity goals.
For the reasons above, the undersigned organizations request an “aye” vote on AB 1131 (Wood). If you have any questions about our position on this bill, please contact Robby Franceschini at firstname.lastname@example.org. We thank you for your commitment to the health and safety of every California community and for your leadership on this incredibly important issue.
CEO, Manifest MedEx
Founder and CEO, Ciitizen
CEO, GSB Health Management Solutions
Government Relations Advocate, SEIU California
Director of Government Relations, Anthem
Senior Director of Government Affairs, Blue Shield of California
President and CEO, Purchaser Business Group on Health
Executive Director, CA Black Health Network
Executive Director, 2020 Mom
Co-Founder and COO, Ginger
Founder and CEO, ConsejoSano, Inc.
Honorable Members, Assembly Health Committee
Kristene Mapile, Principal Consultant