House Bill Would Extend Meaningful Use to Behavioral Health Providers | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

House Bill Would Extend Meaningful Use to Behavioral Health Providers

June 8, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would give behavioral health and addiction treatment providers the ability to receive Medicaid and Medicare incentive funds for the meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHRs).

The legislation, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” (H.R. 2646) was introduced in the House last week by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA). The Murphy-sponsored legislation has bipartisan support, and is aimed at addressing the mental health crisis nationwide where 60 million people experience mental illness in a given year. Co-sponsor of the bill is Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Currently, behavioral health provider organizations can qualify for meaningful use incentive funds only through the current definition of eligible professionals, which includes physicians and some nurse practitioners that are affiliated with their facilities. The typical behavioral health organization has a limited number of these professionals compared to psychologists and licensed social workers.

This bill expands Medicaid and Medicare meaningful use incentive funding eligibility to include mental health treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals and substance abuse treatment facilities. It also expands the types of providers that are eligible for Medicaid and Medicare meaningful use incentives to include clinical psychologists and licensed social workers.

The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS), an association representing behavioral healthcare organizations and professionals, applauded Rep. Murphy for his leadership in answering the call for action. In a statement, the association said, “We thank Rep. Murphy and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and other cosponsors for their support and for demonstrating that achieving overall health of mind and body is a bipartisan goal. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act provides specific solutions to some of the most challenging issues we face.”

According to NAPHS, the bill would also:

  • Change Medicaid policy (the "Institutions for Mental Disease" exclusion) that currently prevents adults from accessing short-term, acute care in psychiatric hospitals.  It would also strengthen mental health and addiction parity.
  • Improve care by promoting quality and integration. Health information technology incentives would become available to behavioral health organizations to encourage improved sharing of medical information.
  • Create a new Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to facilitate government-wide coordination and focus on the needs of the most seriously ill.

Healthcare Informatics' sister publication, Behavioral Healthcare, has more coverage of this story.

Get the latest information on Meaningful Use and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.

83% of Physicians Have Experienced a Cyber Attack, Survey Finds

Eighty-three percent of physicians in a recent survey said that they have experienced some sort of cyber attack, such as phishing and viruses.

Community Data Sharing: Eight Recommendations From San Diego

A learning guide focuses on San Diego’s experience in building a community health information exchange and the realities of embarking on a broad community collaboration to achieve better data sharing.

HealthlinkNY’s Galanis to Step Down as CEO

Christina Galanis, who has served as president and CEO of HealthlinkNY for the past 13 years, will leave her position at the end of the year.