Feds, states pilot smart health cards

In a project that could have implications for how the government delivers public benefits in the future, federal and state agencies next month will kick off a multistate pilot project to deliver a variety of public health programs on a single smart card. The Health Passport Project will provide sma

In a project that could have implications for how the government delivers public benefits in the future, federal and state agencies next month will kick off a multistate pilot project to deliver a variety of public health programs on a single smart card.

The Health Passport Project will provide smart cards to about 25,000 people made up of pregnant women, mothers and children who are eligible for public health programs such as Medicaid and the Women, Infants and Children program, which provides supplemental food and counseling to families. The cards will store basic health-related information, such as immunization records. The program also will make it possible to electronically store in a single database the information that comes from different agencies in charge of human services programs.

The vision for the project, said Chris McKinnon, program manager at the Western Governors Association, "grew out of a desire to combine a number of different health care benefits and health care services for women and children. The idea was to cut down on costs for health care and provide the best care when and where it is needed."

In addition, the project aims to give patients more control over their health care information. Information on the smart card, which includes among other things a patient's name, weight, height, immunization records, vision exams, WIC benefits, and government program participation and referral information, can only be accessed or updated using the patient's personal identification number. A card holder will swipe the card through a reader at a doctor's office, for example, and then enter a PIN. All health care providers also will have PINs that determine what data on the patient's card they can access.

"Clients control that information," McKinnon said. "The long-range idea is that a client could take this card and travel to emergency-care facilities or other places and with them have a card containing health records and secured identification data." The card will prevent the need to fill out the same paperwork for different programs over and over.

The 18-month pilot project, which begins next month in Bismark, N.D., and Cheyenne, Wyo.

"My expectation and my dream with the Health Passport program is that we could make things not so difficult for clients who now have to wade through paperwork at several different agencies," said Bertie Bishop, North Dakota's Health Passport Project manager. "I truly see this as something that could work in a lot of areas, not just in public health but extending to the entire population base."

Recipients in Reno, Nev., will begin using the smart cards in the fall. If the pilot is successful, program officials may roll out the program nationwide.

Federal officials plan to apply lessons learned from the project to other federal programs that could benefit from multi-application smart cards, said Larry Carnes, who works in the General Services Administration's Office of Electronic Commerce, which is providing technical assistance to the project. "We will be able to compile a report of lessons learned to help federal agencies develop multi-application smart cards for health care services," Carnes said.

Katie Hirning, deputy director for information technology at the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, said the project is part of a trend toward electronically delivering services to citizens. "There's no question that we need to move ahead on delivering transaction services," she said. "Smart cards are one type of technology to do this and a good type for this [project]. They are not necessarily the end-all answer for everything."

Different services will require different levels of security and privacy controls, such as a public-key infrastructure, she added.

Reno was selected to participate in the project in part because the city represents a diverse population of beneficiaries. The city, which will begin the pilot in mid-September, is the only site that has no existing electronic benefits transfer infrastructure, which is necessary to deliver WIC benefits, said Marty Brown, a consultant hired by the Western Governors Association to oversee Reno's participation.

Cheyenne has an EBT infrastructure that will be updated during the pilot, and North Dakota plans to add EBT capability later but will initially limit its use of the system to within WIC offices.

Sandy Kaufman, director of state government affairs at Pasteur-Merieux Connaught, a company that produces vaccines and helped fund the project, said the project should raise immunization rates by keeping data accurate and centralized. "What appealed to us about the Health Passport Project is that it's a platform that, if it should prove successful, could be utilized in more than one state," he said.

The Agriculture Department's Food and Nutrition Service is folding its smart card-based WIC benefits program in Wyoming into the Health Passport Project. The project "automates the whole process and helps us reconcile our records with retail vendors that provide food services," said a spokesman at the Food and Nutrition Service. "It will make clear [to clients] what they can get, how much they have gotten and what they have left. It's a way to electronically keep track of WIC benefits."

Siemens Information and Communications Networks is the prime contractor for the Health Passport Project. The company is providing all technology, infrastructure, support and training for the project, which is the largest health care smart card project in the country, said Mike Irvine, the project's program leader at Siemens.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.