California’s vast array of healthcare delivery systems can tap into a wide range of available federal funding streams to help comply with AB 133’s statewide data exchange directive, according to a new report from the California Health Care Foundation.
The authors of the report, titled “Closing the Gap in California’s Health Data Exchange: Necessary Funding and Investments,” recently spoke about their work to the Connecting for Better Health Coalition.
Lauren Block, Managing Principal with Aurrera Health Group, and Kate Ricker-Kiefert, Chief Executive Officer of Amelia Mayme Consulting, outlined their research to identify the financial needs of those in the healthcare system who must comply with AB 133. The report also outlines a variety of existing federal funding streams that can support data exchange.
“It’s a lot of braiding and blending to maximize these federal resources to put together the tapestry to fund the technical infrastructure,” said Ricker-Kiefert.
The study, which combined interviews and desk research, found a range of technical services and funding needs across California’s delivery systems. These include ongoing technical capabilities and infrastructure, maintaining new technical capabilities and infrastructure, policy and implementation support and staffing and workforce.
While California’s 2022-23 state budget includes $50 million for grant programs for the California Data exchange Framework and $140 million for Equity and Practice Transformation Grants, stakeholders say more, ongoing streams of funding will be needed to implement AB 133 in a state as large and diverse as California.
The report identifies several examples of federal streams of funding that could be used for these purposes. These include funding from a variety of HHS agencies including:
- CMS Center for Medicaid CHIP Services
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
- Health Resources and Service Administration
- Federal Communications Commission
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Administration for Community Living
- Bureau of Justice Administration
Block and Ricker-Kiefert provided examples of creative funding used by three different states to fund activities and investments for one- time technology and ongoing infrastructure.
They include, for example, Maryland’s use of BJA Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PMDP) funding and CDC Overdose to Action funds, as well as state PDMP funds to fund data exchange and integration, public health reporting and social determinants of health tools. Washington State and Nebraska use CDC Data Modernization Funds for statewide Health Information Exchange, among several other federal programs.
The authors suggest several forward-looking action items including a coordinated strategy with aligned initiatives at the state level and across counties. They also said that establishing a “technology funding czar and a coordinated funding strategy across agencies and counties” can address technology gaps, increase awareness, and facilitate coordination of funding requests.
“By coordinating across organizations and sectors and leveraging data standards, providers can direct future investments in scalable infrastructure that can support modularity and interoperability, which will increase reusability,” the report explains “For more sophisticated organizations, a smaller investment to support reconfiguration and integration with new types of partners and enhanced functionality may be possible.”