Oregons RHIO plan at a standstill

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After more than a year of planning costing $530,000, Oregon’s attempts to institute a regional health information organization (RHIO) in Portland has been placed on hiatus since a May 15 meeting of the council’s Health Data Exchange Group, which was formed to oversee the planning.

At the meeting, the participants agreed to a proposed governance structure for the RHIO, but key members balked on a funding proposal, contained in a business plan developed by David Witter, a past interim president of the Oregon Health & Science University who also was working as a project consultant.

The business plan has not been released to the public.

Denise Honzel, a consultant for the Oregon Business Council, a coalition of 40 Oregon employers, confirmed to Modern Healthcare that the RHIO would save the community an estimated $17 million a year, but would cost RHIO participants $3.4 million a year throughout a five-year budget period. Also, the budget did not include the anticipated in-house operating costs for participating hospitals of up to $150,000 a year.

Honzel maintains that the possibility of RHIO implementation in Portland is not dead.

Even though Honzel said that Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Regency Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oregon, has been contacting prospective RHIO participants this summer to see if there is a way to continue, no new meetings of the planning group have been set and Ganz has not confirmed this claim to Modern Healthcare.