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Health Information Exchanges – Fuss and Bother

What are Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) and what do they mean to your practice? An article on Economist.com describes new rules proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help create HIEs. Although the rules state that each state is to have an HIE by 2014, if a state does not create one, the federal government will do so on its behalf.

Utah and Massachusetts already set up HIEs, even before national healthcare reform. Another ten states are in the process of either creating them or just studying them. The rest of the states are in various stages of heel-dragging or worse, primarily because their legislatures oppose health care reform.

The HIEs are supposed to offer insurance coverage for those who currently do not have any. Apart from questions of funding, there is also the concern that the exchanges will be full of sick, high-risk patients. There is debate about what this means to the typical physician. If HIEs become a reality, which is not a sure thing, it could mean more patients for your medical practice.

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