Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Washington State: Going for HIT Demo Grant and CHIP Expansion

Washington is a traditionally progressive state in terms of health reform, and the Governor's Office welcomes the opportunities offered by the ARRA's HITECH grants and other provisions, and the CHIP reauthorization.

Washington State has been very active in developing health information technology. In March, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) launched Health Record Bank pilot projects in three communities. Through online portals, consumers can securely store and update their personal health information, combine it with information they get from their physicians and hospitals, and share their medical records with their health care providers and others involved in their health care. This is one of the first pilots in the country that gives patients access to and control over copies of their health information, using Web-based tools from Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health personal health record systems.1 The pilots are intended to encourage consumers to partner with their providers in managing their health care. Improved communication across providers and consumers is expected to reduce redundancy and costs, and improve the quality of care. As of mid-April, the pilots have enrolled about 1,000 consumers in health record bank accounts, with a goal of enrolling 18,000 consumers by the end of June.

"With this pilot under way, we're in an excellent position to apply for a HIT demonstration grant under the federal stimulus plan," said HCA Health Policy Director Richard Onizuka. The federal grant could help extend the pilots into the next fiscal year as well as possibly expand them into new regions of the state. In addition, "funding would help align this new component of health information infrastructure with health information exchange efforts ongoing in Washington State," said Onizuka.

The Governor's Office views CHIP reauthorization provisions as a truly bright spot in recent federal activity related to health care. In 2007, state legislation established the framework for expanding SCHIP to children in families with income from 250 to 300 percent of the FPL, beginning in January 2009. Due to budget constraints, the state had been poised to put off this expansion. The 2009 SCHIP reauthorization bill provides federal matching funds for children in families with incomes up to 300 percent of FPL, thus enabling the state to move forward with the expansion. "We now have a partner in the federal government," said Mark Rupp, director of the D.C. office of the Washington State governor.

The Governor's Office also appreciates new provisions allowing coverage of legal residents and less burdensome citizen documentation requirements. The state had previously covered many legal residents using state-only dollars; it will now receive a federal match for some of these individuals. Also, "the prior documentation requirements were cost intensive... the new rules free up staff time and resources to get the kids covered more quickly," said Rupp.

To better understand the details of the stimulus plan as they emerge over the coming months, and to fully take advantage of the federal funds, Governor Chris Gregoire (D) appointed an Economic Recovery Coordinator within her Executive Policy Office and established an Economic Recovery Subcabinet, which includes agency directors and is chaired by the Governor's chief of staff.

For more information

On Washington's recovery plans:

Contact Mark Rupp, Director, Washington Governor's D.C. office, [email protected].
See Washington State Recovery Web site

On Washington's Health Record Bank:

Contact Richard Onizuka, Health Policy Director, Washington Health Care Authority, [email protected].

1. For more information about HealthVault, see: For more information about Google Health personal records, see:

Publication Details