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DHS news release

Jan. 14, 2008

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Greg Wenneson 503-947-5280

Oregonians to get first chance to help design Medicaid health record bank

People interested in advising the state on how to design its first electronic health-records system are invited to attend any in a series of public meetings that begin Tuesday in Salem.

The public is welcome at the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Jan. 22 meetings, where companies with health-records and electronic information-exchange experience will demonstrate what they can deliver. At the end of each presentation, the public may ask questions and make recommendations.

"Oregon is preparing to bring more than 400,000 Oregonians' Medicaid health records into the 21st century," said Jim Edge, state Medicaid director in the Oregon Department of Human Services. "What we learn also may be helpful in supporting Governor Ted Kulongoski's goal of establishing a secure statewide system of electronic health records for all Oregonians."

Edge said public comment will be taken into account as DHS officials develop specifications for the "health record bank," which will allow access to Medicaid patients' electronic health information through a Web site with strict security and privacy requirements. It will be a secure on-line means where Medicaid patients and providers can obtain access to recent and historical medical information.

The public meetings will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Red Lion Hotel, 3301 Market St.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Roth's Hospitality Center, 1130 Wallace Rd., N.W.
  • Thursday, Jan. 17, at Roth's Hospitality Center, 1130 Wallace Rd., N.W.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Red Lion Hotel, 3301 Market St.

Oregon is using a two-year, $5.5 million federal grant to develop the Medicaid health record bank, expected to be operational by autumn 2009. Oregon, among 41 states to receive federal grants to make major changes in the Medicaid medical program for low-income people, is the only state using the money to develop a health record bank.

Among the benefits of storing medical records electronically are giving patients online access to their records, alerting physicians that another doctor already has performed tests, telling pharmacists whether a patient already is taking a medication with which a new prescription would negatively interact, eliminating prescription errors resulting from unreadable handwriting, ending loss of paperwork and prompting doctors about when to get back to patients.

Public comment is expected to focus on topics such as guaranteeing medical privacy and ensuring patients have access to their own records.

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