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      RS 40:1167.2     


§1167.2. Legislative findings; purpose

            The legislature finds that:

            (1) Through the state's health care reform efforts, it has been recognized that Health Information Technology (HIT) and Health Information Exchange (HIE) are critical to improving and evaluating the quality of health care delivered to the citizens of Louisiana across the full spectrum of service delivery. The state has made significant investments in HIT that should be leveraged and built upon while continuing to address the low adoption rate of HIT by providers statewide.

            (2) The state and federal governments have recognized that the use of an interoperable electronic health record (EHR) is the foundation of HIT adoption and can improve outcomes and reduce costs.

            (3) In February of 2009, the United States Congress, in enacting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), made a substantial financial commitment to the national expansion of HIT by providing approximately seventeen billion dollars in funding for enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to certain providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology, as well as an additional two billion dollars for competitive grants to the states to create regional infrastructure and to provide loans to providers for the purchase and implementation of an EHR.

            (4) Under ARRA, many of Louisiana's providers will become eligible for enhanced Medicare reimbursement in the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2010, by becoming a meaningful user of certified EHR technology and will suffer financial consequences for failing to do so in the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014. Additionally, enhanced Medicaid reimbursement will be available to certain providers who are engaged in efforts to adopt, implement, or upgrade certified EHR technology or who are meaningful users of such technology, beginning on a date that has not yet been specified by the federal government.

            (5) The ARRA's loan program competitive grant provisions are designed to facilitate the widespread adoption of certified EHR technology, thus achieving provider eligibility for the enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. The application process requires that the state develop and submit a strategic plan that will be annually updated, and that must include a list of the projects to be assisted through the program, a description of the criteria and methods established for the distribution of funds, the financial status of the loan fund as of the date of submission of the plan and the short-term and long-term goals of the program.

            (6) In 2007, the state authorized the secretary to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with the Rural Hospital Coalition, Inc. (the Coalition), for the establishment of the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange (LARHIX), a multi-regional health care information exchange. With the funding provided, seven rural hospitals acquired EHR technology and were linked to Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - Shreveport (LSUHSC-S) via a state-of-the-art integration engine, permitting a panel of specialists to access a rural patient's medical record in real time while consulting with the patient over the telemedicine equipment located at the rural hospital. In 2008, the state entered into a five-year CEA with the Coalition and provided funding to expand the network to seven additional rural hospitals. LARHIX has been honored as a network model with multiple award nominations by national technology organizations.

            (7) The state is required to meet federal match requirements to secure funding under the ARRA loan program provisions. Once such funding is secured, the state can establish the loan program and thereby make application for ARRA program funds. When established, the loan program will facilitate the expansion of current efforts, including LARHIX, to assist providers in acquiring certified EHR technology. By enacting this legislation, the legislature is providing the department and the secretary with specific authority to facilitate the state's application for ARRA loan program funding and to administer the state's EHR loan program.

            Acts 2009, No. 489, §1, eff. July 1, 2009; Redesignated from R.S. 40:1299.97.2 by HCR 84 of 2015 R.S.

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