In a key step toward developing a proposed U.S. health information technology (HIT) infrastructure, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that Iowa’s Medicaid program is the first to receive federal matching funds for planning activities necessary to implement the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).


ARRA was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. Among its various parts, ARRA includes provisions for the improvement of our nation’s health care through health information technology (also known as Health IT or HIT), Medicare and Medicaid Health IT provisions which provide incentives and support for the adoption of certified electronic health records (EHRs); and provisions to expand, enforce, and enhance the privacy and security safeguards required by HIPAA. The proposed goal of a switch to EHRs is to improve the quality of health care for individuals, make care more efficient by making it easier for providers treating a patient to coordinate care, and make it easier for individual patients to access the information they need to make decisions about their own health care. Responsibility for implementing this program falls to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a position currently filled by Dr. David Blumenthal at the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). In furtherance of this goal, Mr. Blumenthal recently announced $80 million in grants to develop a HIT workforce. Additionally, the HHS has created a helpful website on the topic of health information technology with links to resources on privacy issues.

In discussing the approximately $1.16 million in federal matching funds Iowa will receive, Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS said, “While Iowa is the first state to receive approval of its plan for implementing the Recovery Act’s EHR incentive program, a number of other states have submitted plans as well, meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase health care efficiency, reduce medical errors and improve quality-outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states.”   As the first state to receive federal funding, Iowa will use the funds to focus on planning, information gathering, analysis, and assessment with respect HIT and the use of EHR within the state.  

A HIT Infrastructure is likely to raise a range of new issues involving the handling of sensitive personal information. For instance, anytime extensive personal and medical information is placed in electronic form, the chance of a data breach or information misuse rises significantly. This is especially true given the recent growth in the area of medical identity theft. Additionally, as some commentators have reported, physicians, hospitals, and clinics have all expressed concerns regarding the technical feasibility of the system, potential for patient mix-ups, as well as the extensive cost to make the switch to EHR. How such a system would affect employers and group health plan administration remains unclear.  

With such an emphasis on a switch to EHR, and billions of federal dollars fueling the conversion, all businesses, particularly health care providers, need to be consider how they will be affected by the new HIT infrastructure. 

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Photo of Jason C. Gavejian Jason C. Gavejian

Jason C. Gavejian is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group. Jason is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy…

Jason C. Gavejian is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group. Jason is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

As a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US), Jason focuses on the matrix of laws governing privacy, security, and management of data. Jason is co-editor of, and a regular contributor to, the firm’s Workplace Privacy, Data Management & Security Report blog.

Jason’s work in the area of privacy and data security includes counseling international, national, and regional companies on the vast array of privacy and security mandates, preventive measures, policies, procedures, and best practices. This includes, but is not limited to, the privacy and security requirements under state, federal, and international law (e.g., HIPAA/HITECH, GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), FTC Act, ECPA, SCA, GLBA etc.). Jason helps companies in all industries to assess information risk and security as part of the development and implementation of comprehensive data security safeguards including written information security programs (WISP). Additionally, Jason assists companies in analyzing issues related to: electronic communications, social media, electronic signatures (ESIGN/UETA), monitoring and recording (GPS, video, audio, etc.), biometrics, and bring your own device (BYOD) and company owned personally enabled device (COPE) programs, including policies and procedures to address same. He regularly advises clients on compliance issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and has represented clients in suits, including class actions, brought in various jurisdictions throughout the country under the TCPA.

Jason represents companies with respect to inquiries from the HHS/OCR, state attorneys general, and other agencies alleging wrongful disclosure of personal/protected information. He negotiates vendor agreements and other data privacy and security agreements, including business associate agreements. His work in the area of privacy and data security includes counseling and coaching clients through the process of investigating and responding to breaches of the personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) they maintain about consumers, customers, employees, patients, and others, while also assisting clients in implementing policies, practices, and procedures to prevent future data incidents.

Jason represents management exclusively in all aspects of employment litigation, including restrictive covenants, class-actions, harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and wage and hour claims in both federal and state courts. He regularly appears before administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. Jason’s practice also focuses on advising/counseling employers regarding daily workplace issues.

Jason’s litigation experience, coupled with his privacy practice, provides him with a unique view of many workplace issues and the impact privacy, data security, and social media may play in actual or threatened lawsuits.

Jason regularly provides training to both executives and employees and regularly speaks on current privacy, data security, monitoring, recording, BYOD/COPE, biometrics (BIPA), social media, TCPA, and information management issues. His views on these topics have been discussed in multiple publications, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle (SFGATE), National Law Review, Bloomberg BNA,, @Law Magazine, Risk and Insurance Magazine, LXBN TV, Business Insurance Magazine, and

Jason is the co-leader of Jackson Lewis’ Hispanic Attorney resource group, a group committed to increasing the firm’s visibility among Hispanic-American and other minority attorneys, as well as mentoring the firm’s attorneys to assist in their training and development. He also previously served on the National Leadership Committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and regularly volunteers his time for pro bono matters.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Jason served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Richard J. Donohue on the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.