Governor Stitt’s Veto Halts Health Information Exchange in Oklahoma, Sparks Constitutional Debate
KOKH-OKC - July 3, 2023 8:28 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — The Health Information Exchange or the HIE has gone into effect starting July 1st, 2023.
The HIE would require healthcare providers to enter patient records into an online database, but not all providers would have to comply.
Last week Governor Stitt rejected the rule changes that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority proposed for the HIE, and as a result providers in the state are not currently being forced to comply.
The Health Information Exchange is essentially a database that providers can enter and look up patient data and medical history.
“In theory, this is a good thing to reduce costs and improve coordination among care providers,” said Special Council with Hll Estill, Collin Walke. “The problem however, is that the health care authorities rule was so vague, it would have required individuals to submit their mental health records for example, there were no exemptions, every single provider as defined by the rule would have had to comply with this, and as a result of that it was an unconstitutional law because we had a constitutional provision in Oklahoma that says citizens and their providers cannot be compelled to participate in a health care system.”
Last week the Governor vetoed the proposed rule changes to the database, now forcing the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority to make new rules according to Walke.
“As a result of Governor Stitt vetoing the rule, the statute can’t go into effect because the statute says that only providers as defined by the Health Care Authority are subject to the law that hasn’t been defined anymore, so no one has to comply at this moment,” he said.
Collin Walke is the attorney for two licensed professional counselors in Oklahoma who have filed a lawsuit against the state, looking to declare the Health Information Act Unconstitutional.
“It violates the takings clause under the constitution of Oklahoma because in the statute, it specifically defines patient data as property, which means that the federal or the state government cannot take your property without just compensation and absolutely cannot take it for private purposes,” said Walke.
Because of Governor Stitt’s veto, the case was dismissed without prejudice, but Walke says another lawsuit could be in the works if the OHCA’s new rules violate the constitution.
The OHCA told Fox 25 on Thursday that they would be presenting new emergency rules soon.