New Jersey set to move ahead with statewide HIE plans

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New Jersey is poised to become the first state to mandate a move toward EHR under a bill now before Governor Jon Corzine called the New Jersey Health Information Technology Promotion Act.

The bill, A. 4044, which has already been approved by the state legislature, calls for the establishment of a 19-member commission to oversee the development of a statewide health information network known as the New Jersey Health Information Bank (NJHIB). The NJHIB will be designed to be a "secure, integrated and interoperative" method for sharing information among facilities, providers, payors and patients.

The commission’s job will be to promote the use of national standards in “security, privacy, data content, format, vocabulary and information transfer standards.”

The commission would also oversee a statewide health IT plan under an “Office for e-HIT.” In addition to government officials, the commission will include reps from the New Jersey Hospital Association, the Medical Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, along with reps from pharmacy, nursing, primary care, mental health advocacy, unions, the AARP and employer interests. There will also be a minimum of three physicians, a nurse, a pharmacy and someone representing clinical labs. The state's Department of Banking and Insurance will oversee the project.

The plan has been under review for six months, and passed the Senate unanimously on Jan. 10. The final version passed the Assembly with just three dissents. Under state law Corzine can sign it, veto it, or modify it in the form of a conditional veto.