Legislative Working Group Requests Comments from Public to Help Improve Access to Health Care Cost and Quality Information

AUGUSTA – Comments and recommendations are being sought by a working group established by the Maine Legislature to identify the types of health care information and data of greatest interest and importance to the public.  In an effort to hear the
“Voice of the Customer,” the working group encourages individuals and organizations to provide input by August 15th regarding health care cost and quality information.  Feedback is also sought regarding experiences in trying to access this type of information.

Chaired by Josh Cutler, M.D., the working group was created last year through Resolve Chapter 109 (www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/chapters/RESOLVE109.asp), and extended this year by Resolve Chapter 121.  It requires the working group to evaluate options and actions available to improve the availability of and access to health care data and to examine the all-payor claims database system in the State.  To inform its members and enhance the evaluation process, the group invites comments and suggests the following questions in order to help the public in providing comments:

—  What type of health care information is most important to you?

—  What sources have you consulted in order to obtain the information?

—  Were you able to locate what you sought, and was the process easy or difficult?

—  Have you attempted to use the Maine Health Data Organization’s website (http://mhdo.maine.gov/imhdo/), and if so, were you able to locate what you were seeking?

—  What improvements would you recommend to make health care information more readily available?  

Input can be provided by e-mail to Kristian.Terison@maine.gov.  It can also be mailed to Kristian Terison, 242 State Street, Augusta, ME 04888 or faxed to (207) 287-7643.  The working group requests comments by August 15th.  It must report back to the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services by December 31, 2012.

Overall, the working group is reviewing the current structures and relationships among the Maine Health Data Organization, the Maine Health Data Processing Center and OnPoint Health Data in order to evaluate the timeliness and effectiveness of the data received.  It is also reviewing the current purposes, uses, and limitations on access to the data and considering additional uses for the data and changes that might be necessary to achieve more uses.

Additionally, the working group is considering federal and state privacy and security laws regarding the use and release of protected health information, including policy and technical changes needed to allow increased access to protected health information and the feasibility of those changes; and considering the availability of the data, the most appropriate sources of the data and the cost of providing the data.  Commissioner Anne L. Head from Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation is a member of the working group.




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