One reason for the setback, at least in recent years, was the focus on implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, says Tom Holt, director of government affairs for Regence BlueCross BlueShield in Oregon. Holt says Regence BCBS supports the pending mandate.
"The problem has been on the radar for several years," says Holt. "It was stuck because most of the key players were, over the last two years, very much involved in Oregon's Medicaid reforms and now the [health insurance] exchange. So, projects like this got set aside."
State Senator Alan Bates, MD, a practicing physician, resurrected the initiative, which passed unanimously in both the state house and senate.
Steinberg is optimistic because Oregon's lawmakers took the significant step of making its system mandatory instead of voluntary, which is the case in the neighboring state of Washington.
"When you don't require something, and it doesn't get used, you're not really making a difference," she says.
Steinberg says her counterparts who participate in Washington's electronic credentialing system complain about the software program used to run it. That detail is one Steinberg hopes Oregon will get right.
"That's where the key lies here with us in Oregon… to get the best electronic system," says Steinberg.