NC Health Information Exchange

In late May, 2021, Govenor Cooper signed House Bill 395 - an extension to connect to the NC Health Information Exchange (NCHIE) - into law. The new deadline for psychiatrists who treat patients insured by the State Health Plan, Medicaid, and/or NC Health Choice to connect is now January 1, 2023. (The previous deadline was June 1, 2021.)

One addition to the bill is that providers who do not connect to the HIE will be prohibited from "balance billing" the patients. Providers will not be permitted to bill members more than the patient would be billed if the provider were connected to the HIE. Here is the link to the bill language.

NCPA worked hard to help the NCHIE understand the unique position of psychiatrists regarding patient confidentiality and the difficulties in securing suitable, affordable EHRs, particularly during the pandemic. Over the next 18 months, we will continue to share news and resources to help members make decisions and navigate the connection process. Please let us know if you have questions!

If you treat patients insured by the State Health Plan, NC Medicaid, and/or NC Health Choice, you now have until January 1, 2023 to take action. You will need to sign a participation agreement with the NCHIE, stating that you are working to adopt an electronic health record or other vehicle to deliver basic information to the HIE. It will likely take years for the NCHIE/HealthConnex to work on actual connections for individual physician practices. If you are close to retirement, there is a one-year waiver available.

NCPA has also been talking with a company, SmartLink, that has designed a platform to connect mental health professionals to the HIE using billing and claims information through their pipeline, submitting only the most basic of information to NC HealthConnex to meet the mandate requirements. 

Are you unsure whether you are required to connect? Do you need help finding an EHR vendor for your practice? Are you feeling totally lost about what steps to take? There are numerous resources. Let the staff at NCPA hear from you so that we can provide some assistance.