Texas ramps up statewide Medicaid services network

System would give doctors Medicaid records access and e-prescription capability

Texas doubled down on health IT services over the last month, awarding two key contracts to set up the electronic sharing of Medicaid records throughout the state.

The first contract, which went to CGI Inc., would set up an electronic system and personnel to help the state administer payments to Medicaid providers participating in the federal government’s $20 billion-plus incentive program to jump start EHR adoption across the health care community.

Related coverage:

Texas gets help with health IT incentive program

The second, more ambitious contract outsourced to Hewlett-Packard the development of a health information exchange systems and services associated with the state’s Medicaid program.

Under the $30 million deal, HP would set up a Web portal through which the state’s 70,000 Medicaid providers would have secure electronic access to client health histories. HP also would launch a Web-based e-prescription servicing network through which physicians without an electronic health records (EHR) system of their own could send in prescription orders via the Web.

Medicaid recipients would be issued permanent plastic Medicaid ID cards to replace paper cards that had been distributed to clients on a monthly basis. The state said the move would pay for itself in less than three years.

Aside from the direct program costs savings from making paper-based transactions electronic, health IT proponents say the big savings are to be found in some of the secondary benefits of EHRs. These include flagging potential adverse reactions by patients to prescribed dosages that exceed safety recommendations or to drugs that should not be taken together.

Ultimately, the health care community envisions being able to lower Medicaid’s high costs by using aggregated data generated by individual patient treatments to spot disease trends and plan interventions across diverse patient populations. To that effect, the HP system will include an automated messaging capability that will send reminders to clients about the availability of periodic services.

HP will tap InterComponentWare’s eHealth Framework, a services platform that will enable creation of common patient health history across the state.

About the Author

Paul McCloskey is senior editor of GCN. A former editor-in-chief of both GCN and FCW, McCloskey was part of Federal Computer Week's founding editorial staff.


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