—A new program in California will use health information exchange technology to facilitate the flow of data between healthcare providers. The California Health eQuality, or CHeQ, program, will be led by Dr. Kenneth Kizer, director of the UC Davis Health System's Institute for Population Health Improvement. CHeQ, part of a 16-month, $17.5 million agreement with the California Health and Human Services Agency, aims to expand underserved communities' capacity to exchange and access immunization, lab tests and other data, according to a news release. “We want care-related information to flow safely and quickly between and among healthcare providers—no more printing, scanning and faxing laboratory and X-ray results,” Kizer said in the release. Kizer, founding president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, has been named four times to Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, most recently No. 84 in 2005 and No. 92 in 2004.
—Sutter Health has filed an application with the California Department of Managed Health Care for a license to form a health maintenance organization catering to small and midsize employers. Under California's Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, health plans must obtain a license from the Managed Health Care Department to operate as HMOs in the state. By forming an HMO, Sutter Health will be better positioned to work directly with patients to better manage their healthcare needs, said Peter Anderson, Sutter Health senior vice president of strategy and business development. “Employers have been asking us to find a way for them to have direct relationships with Sutter Health,” he said in a company statement. “We're also seeing the emergence of new delivery models, such as accountable care organizations, and new care approaches from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A Knox-Keene license gives us greater flexibility to participate.” With CDMC's approval, Sutter Health will offer a range of HMO products for small and midsize employers, the company statement said. Those products would first become available in the greater Sacramento and Central Valley regions in early 2014, eventually expanding to other parts of Sutter Health's service area.
—Crain's Business Insurance