The Idaho Health Data Exchange has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to an Aug. 17 story in the Idaho Capital Sun. The bankruptcy filing reveals that the health information exchange owes creditors $4 million and is defending itself in three lawsuits, the story says.
The report, by senior investigative reporter Audrey Dutton, quoted Matthew T. Christensen of the Johnson May law firm in Boise as saying the bankruptcy filing would allow the nonprofit IDHE to keep operating while it pays creditors and works through litigation.
One of the companies that is suing IDHE is Cureous Innovations, a subsidiary of Maine’s HIE, HealthInfoNet. In 2020, Cureous announced it would work closely with IHDE to evaluate and implement an enhanced suite of health information technology designed to improve the quality of care and health outcomes of Idahoans. In the filing it is listed with a total claim of $788,544.
The IHDE also lists an $80,330 claim from vendor PointCare LLC. In October 2021 IDHE had announced a partnership with PointCare to help its participants manage the entire enrollment process from end-to-end. It said the partnership would enable IHDE to expand its services, providing a solution to deliver greater access to coverage while breaking down barriers to achieving quality healthcare. PointCare sued the IDHE in Contra Costa County Superior Court last month, the Capital Sun story says, alleging the exchange stopped making payments on a two-year, $130,500 contract and still owed $85,350.
SPUR Catalyst Inc., using the business name SPUR Capital, is an Ohio-based company that sued the IHDE this year. For about $331,311. The debts to Cureous and SPUR are in dispute, according to the filing.
Launched in 2009, the IDHE has received millions of dollars of federal funds per year through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, but the Capital Sun story notes that that income stream ended when the HITECH Act expired last year.
The Capital Sun’s Dutton also spoke to Hans Kastensmith, the executive director of the exchange and a managing partner at Capitol Health Associates, a consulting group based in Washington, D.C., that was brought in to provide leadership at IDHE. “We had done a lot of work to right-size the company and keep it moving so it can deliver the service that’s expected of it,” Kastensmith told the Capital Sun. Asked whether the health data exchange found new revenue sources to replenish its income stream, Kastensmith said, “We’re working on it. … We have been working to increase revenue while reducing costs.”
In October 2021, Healthcare Innovation Editor in Chief Mark Hagland interviewed Craig Jones of Capital Health Associates about their effort to make progress at IDHE. “The turnaround of IHDE was a really great opportunity for us,” he said. “I’ve been working on health service reform, population health, etc., for 25 years. So when we walked in there, we wanted to see if we could turn IHDE into a driver of value-based care delivery. The providers needed data exchange to do that. And while IHDE was somewhat known, there wasn’t trust in it. So that was our starting point.”
Jones said they worked with vendor 4Medica to improve identity resolution in the HIE.
Hagland asked Jones what the next two years would look like for IDHE.
“We’re continuing on this roadmap and continuing the integration of all these different types of data,” he said. “And it means a consent management system that allows us to exchange highly sensitive data, with granular control. Probably first-level consent within six months for trusted exchange for sensitive data among behavioral providers in the state. The same with the integration of the Medicaid and commercial-payer eligibility platform, so people can get eligibility here; it will be part of what’s available in a patient’s record. And payers really appreciate that, not just providers. If you make it easier for them to do their work, they can work more easily with providers. We have an image exchange function, that will be elevated to provide large volumes of exchange for health systems. And we’re working on a number of public health use cases. For example, someone wanted to understand the rate of myocarditis in Idaho following the onset of COVID. So we’re working on an ongoing series of requests in that regard.”