What Does the Law Mandate?

Through a law passed in 2015, the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority (NC HIEA) was created to oversee and administer the NC Health Information Exchange Network (NCGS 90-414.7). The NC HIEA is housed within the NC Department of Information Technology’s (DIT) Government Data Analytics Center (GDAC). The NC HIEA operates North Carolina’s statewide health information exchange—NC HealthConnex. NC HealthConnex is a tool that links disparate systems and existing HIE networks together to deliver a holistic view of the patient record through a secure, standardized electronic system so that providers can share important patient health information. The use of this system promotes the access, exchange and analysis of health information.

The law also requires:

  • Hospitals as defined by G.S. 131E-176(3), physicians licensed to practice under Article 1 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes, physician assistants as defined in 21 NCAC 32S .0201, and nurse practitioners as defined in 21 NCAC 36 .0801 who provide Medicaid services and who have an electronic health record system shall connect by June 1, 2018.
  • All other providers of Medicaid and state-funded services shall connect by June 1, 2019.
  • Prepaid Health Plans (PHPs), as defined in S.L. 2015-245, will be required to connect to the HIE per their contracts with the NC Division of Health Benefits (DHB). Clarifies that PHPs are required to submit encounter and claims data by the commencement of the contract with NC DHB.
  • Clarifies that Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LMEs/MCOs) are required to submit encounter and claims data by June 1, 2020.

What Does Connected Mean?

To meet the state’s mandate, a Medicaid provider is “connected” when its clinical and demographic information pertaining to services paid for by Medicaid and other State-funded health care funds are being sent to NC HealthConnex, at least twice daily—either through a direct connection or via a hub (i.e., a larger system with which it participates, another regional HIE with which it participates or an EHR vendor). Participation agreements signed with the designated entity would need to list all affiliate connections.