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HMPRG's Public comment on the Illinois Health Information Exchange operational plan

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
August 25, 2010
This is the letter was submitted by HMPRG to the State on August 19, 2010

Health and Medicine Policy Research Group is an independentnon-profit policy center that conducts research, educates, and collaborateswith others to advocate for policies and impact health systems to improve thehealth status of all people.  In 2006,Health & Medicine began an initiative that convened a broad group of healthcare safety net stakeholders in northern Illinois (those institutions thatprovide health services to uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerablepopulations) to determine priorities and recommendations for strengthening thesafety net. 

One priority that was identified was the necessity for allhealth care institutions to use electronic health records and be connectedthrough a health information exchange.  Itwas also determined that connecting medical data to public health data and datafor the social determinants of health (such as education, social services, housingand employment status) would play a critically important role in the publichealth community’s ability to improve the health status of all.

We are pleased that the IL HIE Strategic and OperationalPlan includes a strong emphasis on public health and that a Public HealthAdvisory Committee will continue to meet as HIE planning ends andimplementation begins.  Health &Medicine hosted a forum in early 2010 calling for the inclusion of broad publichealth data elements in the HIE plan, as well as data for behavioral health,case management, and nursing services. While we laud your efforts to include the public health community, wewant to ensure that the public health data elements, including the socialdeterminants of health, are linked to the medical data through the HIE.  For example, asthma and lead poisoning ratescould be linked to housing data, which would help public health professionalsmore effectively target prevention and treatment initiatives. 

We look forward to the inclusion of public health in IL’sHIE. We encourage the State to remember that the health status of our residentsis determined by more than their medical services, and that in order for us tocomprehensively improve our health status, we must have current, timelyinformation on the factors that most affect our health on a day to daybasis. 

Sincerely,

Margie Schaps, Executive Director                               

JannaStansell, PolicyAnalyst

Quentin D. Young, Chairman