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Idaho Statewide HIE Changes Leadership Amidst Bankruptcy

After filing for bankruptcy in 2022, legislators have questioned how the HIE will move forward after receiving more than a decade of government support.

Idaho’s statewide health information exchange (HIE) has changed leadership, according to reporting from The Idaho Capital Sun.

Hans Kastensmith, managing partner of consulting group Capitol Health Associates, became executive director of the Idaho Health Data Exchange in October 2019. Jesse Meldru, who had been serving as director of finance, has replaced Kastensmith in that position, according to court records.

“Hans came to (the Idaho Health Data Exchange) during a period of rapid innovation in the underlying technology of the exchange, which is his specific area of expertise and the primary focus of his consulting business,” Meldru wrote in an email to the news outlet.

“Now that IHDE is transitioning toward a stronger focus on the exchange’s day-to-day operations, Hans decided to move on to other projects through his consulting practice that align with his passions and expertise,” Meldru added.

The HIE filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2022. At the time, the organization said it owed $4 million to creditors.

The bankruptcy has led to questions from legislators about how the HIE will move forward after receiving more than a decade of government support and millions of patient records.

The exchange is now the subject of an Office of Performance Evaluations inquiry that the Idaho Legislature ordered in its 2023 session.

Meldru said he plans to maintain his role as the exchange’s chief finance officer in addition to executive director.

The private nonprofit HIE launched in 2009 through millions of dollars in seed money from federal grants and ongoing federal funds for operations.

The HITECH Act expired in 2021, taking away a key source of revenue for the HIE. The data exchange shifted toward relying on user fees to support its operations.

Kastensmith told the news outlet last August that the exchange’s management was working to identify a new source of income to keep the patient data repository alive.

“We have been working to increase revenue while reducing costs,” he said.

At the time, the exchange had three employees and 10 to 12 outside contractors, Kastensmith said.

“We had done a lot of work to right-size the company and keep it moving so it can deliver the service that’s expected of it,” Kastensmith said.

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