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Originally published Oct. 12, 2011 at 5:52 p.m., updated Oct. 13, 2011 at 7:16 a.m.
TOPEKA The board responsible for overseeing electronic health information exchanges in the state has named its first full-time employee.
Bill Wallace, formerly chief information officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, will be chief executive officer of Kansas Health Information Exchange, Inc.
Before retiring in 2009, Wallace worked at Blue Cross for 38 years. There he helped develop a secure network for the exchange of health-related data between providers and the state's largest health insurance company. That system had to comply with similar patient security and privacy regulations that KHIE, Inc. is currently developing and implementing, he said.
"It was just different content, same security mechanisms," Wallace said. "We developed the capability for handling all the HIPAA-compliant electronic transactions, including claims, eligibility, prior authorizations, enrollment, those kinds of things. So we had a fairly large electronic data interchange that operated throughout the state from the early '80s. We processed millions of transactions a year."
HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law that spells out privacy protections for medical patients.
Wallace also represented Blue Cross in 2005 on the Health Information Exchange Commission steering committee, which ultimately chartered KHIE, Inc. Before that he served on the Health Care Cost Containment Commission formed by then Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2004.
More recently, he worked with Kansas' Regional Extension Center for health information technology and exchange to form its short list of recommended vendors of electronic health record systems.
Wallace will work out of an office at the Kansas Health Institute until KHIE, Inc. has established its own office space.
In other business
• The board approved its first piece of guiding policy, "Disclosure of Protected Health Information to Health Information Organizations (HIOs)." The policy outlines what HIOs — such as the Kansas Health Information Network — will have to do to qualify for KHIE, Inc. approval. It also restricts providers and other entities to exchanging protected health information with HIOs sanctioned by KHIE, Inc.
• The board formed an education committee and named as its chair board member Helen Connors. Among other things, the new committee will be charged with educating the public as well as providers about the exchange of electronic health records via the health information exchange.