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Legislation Introduced to Extend Health IT to Behavioral Health

April 19, 2010
by root
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Last week, Congressmen Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) introduced the Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010. The legislation would extend the incentives for the meaningful use of EHRs by ensuring the eligibility of many behavioral and mental health professionals, psychiatric hospitals, behavioral and mental health treatment facilities, and substance abuse treatment facilities.

Murphy said that delivering health IT to this sector “bridges the care for those with mental and physical illness, and that “to best diagnose and treat patients, mental health professionals need complete, up-to-date medical histories.”

ARRA, which provided $20 billion in incentives and grants to healthcare organizations to establish interoperable health records, had previously excluded mental health providers, including clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric hospitals, substance use treatment facilities and mental health treatment facilities.

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