All payer claims database survives budget compromise

Governor Jerry Brown and California legislators reached a budget compromise on June 8, 2018, that includes a one time grant of $60 million to fund a state-wide all payer claims database. The allocation funds AB 2502 which passed the Assembly unopposed in late May and was referred to the Senate Health committee.

If passed by the Senate as anticipated, AB 2302, now funded by the appropriation, will establish and direct the implementation of the California Health Care Payments Database. The database would collect information relating to the utilization, pricing, and social determinants of health like age, gender, ethnicity, and neighborhood with the purpose of using “the information to inform policymakers in making decisions regarding how to reduce health care costs while improving quality and reducing disparities.” The data gathered must comply with HIPPA and State privacy laws.

Currently, California has a voluntary claims database called the California Healthcare Performance Information System with information from Anthem BlueCross, Blue Shield of California, and United Healthcare of California. The bill makes data provision to the new database mandatory by requiring health care service plans, licensed health insurers, self-insured employers subject to Section 1349.2 (exempting ERISA plans), contracted health entities, suppliers, and providers to provide information to the Secretary of the California Department of Health and Human Services with penalities for failure.

The HHS Secretary will use the database to complile annual reports to the California Legislature. Importantly, the annual reports will provide recommendations to contain healthcare costs, reduce health disparities, and improve the quality of healthcare, as well as compare prices by payer and providers and provide ways to increase transparency of healthcare costs.

The State Budget went to conference committee late Friday afternoon and will likely pass on time before its June 15th deadline.