Recognizing leadership on HB 2641, AKA ‘’Ken’s Bill’’, Improving Data Interoperability for Texas Public Health
Last Friday, OZ Systems Vice President Steve Montgomery presented the “Texas e-Health Alliance Legislative Champion” award to Texas State Representative John Zerwas, M.D. The award recognizes his efforts to pass a bill that makes significant policy improvements in Texas law supporting the use of health information technology (HIT) within public health systems and programs. Advocates of the legislation referred to it as “Ken’s Bill”, as it contained many policy items that had been spearheaded by OZ Systems co-founder Dr. Ken Pool, who helped draft the bill’s initial language.
Texas Governor Abbott signed “Ken’s Bill” (HB 2641) last year to promote improved and expanded health data interoperability for Texas public health. Dr. Pool was President of the Board of Directors of the Texas e-Health Alliance (TeHA) when the bill was drafted, and TeHA is credited with pulling together a broad coalition of stakeholders – hospital associations and medical associations, among others – that saw the bill through to passage.
House Bill 2641 helps better define “HIE,” or Health Information Exchange, within Texas statute and ensures that all public health systems can exchange health information securely, in accordance with applicable national data exchange standards. Authored by state representative John Zerwas, M.D., an anesthesiologist from Houston, the new law also allows health-related information to be transmitted through local health information exchanges to the appropriate state public health agencies, a critical provision for technology innovators working to facilitate the timely and secure exchange of health data.
OZ Systems congratulates Rep. Zerwas on the award and was honored to play a role in recognizing all the groups that supported this bill. It reinforces the mission of OZ Systems and the legacy of Dr. Ken Pool’s advocacy in the field of HIT. Every state public health department could benefit from a similar “HIE” bill.