Virginia Invests in Health IT Modernization
As healthcare companies try to bring consumer-friendly technologies to patients, some states are working to do the same with government services. Few people look forward to spending time at the DMV, but it’s getting more convenient in states like Virginia, where citizens can renew registrations and licenses online.
“We believe we lead the nation in online transactions. Right now we’re up to 34,” said Dave Burhop, CIO of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. “There’s no reason we can’t do that with other state services in the Commonwealth.”
Especially in healthcare and social services, government information executives see a large potential for expanding online transactions and simplifying administration with better IT. Virginia’s Department of Social Services started offering online portals last March, as part of the $101 million Electronic Health and Human Resources (or eHHR) project, a government modernization initiative started by Governor Bob McDonnell and jointly funded by Virginia and the federal government.
The project is using a mix of traditional IT, new enterprise data management systems and service oriented architecture, following four phases (with NIST security levels) and slated to be complete in 2015, partly driven by Affordable Care Act compliance. Even as McDonnell, a Republican, remains leery of Medicaid expansion or a state health insurance exchange, the eHHR project is helping state agencies comply with federal requirements, such as linking with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) system for determining Medicaid, CHIP and premium-assistance eligibility, and also linking health agencies with Connect Virginia, the statewide health information exchange.