Montana developing $19M statewide HIE

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed an executive order Sept. 4 that will delegate $19 million in federal funding to develop a statewide health information exchange, Montana Public Radio reports.

Dubbed Big Sky Care Connect, the HIE will link Montana hospitals, urgent care clinics and pharmacies, among other providers, so the organizations can transfer and share patient medical data.

Big Sky Care Connect's board of directors estimates it will cost $50 million over the next four years to connect every physician in Montana to the HIE. However, participation is not required, according to the report. In order to fully develop the HIE, the $19 million in funding from CMS to help with the HIE's startup costs must be matched with 10 percent of the costs from the state or private funds.

Big Sky Care Connect is Montana's second attempt at creating an HIE. The state failed to establish a similar HIE in the mid-2000s due to a lack of necessary technology.

The new HIE is expected to begin signing up providers to join the network later this year. 

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