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122HITECH funding for EHR

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    Apr 17, 2010
      Good news on funding for electronic health records. Feds eased rules for place of service -- now expanded for MH docs and NP's in non-hospital settings. This new bill (described below) really broadens the field to include clinical staff.


      Go Here to Learn More about the Amendment!
      Behavioral health providers, substance abuse treatment facilities and psychiatric hospitals would benefit from broader Meaningful Use Medicaid/Medicare incentive funding opportunities with passage of an amendment introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives. We urge you to contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives and ask for their support of this important legislation!

      The proposed amendment, introduced by U.S. Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Tim Murphy (R-PA), extends eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare incentive funds for the "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHRs) to behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment professionals and facilities not previously included as eligible in the HITECH Act, a component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

      The amendment, subject to House and Senate approval, clarifies the definition "health care provider" to include behavioral and mental health professionals, substance abuse professionals, psychiatric hospitals, behavioral and mental health clinics and substance use treatment facilities. It also expands the Medicaid/Medicare incentives through the following:
      Expands the types of providers that are eligible for the Medicare incentives for the "meaningful use" of EHRs to include licensed psychologists and clinical social workers. Currently, behavioral healthcare provider organizations can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive funds only through the current definition of "eligible professionals" (EPs), which includes physicians and nurse practitioners that are affiliated with their facilities. The typical behavioral health organization has a limited number of these professionals compared to psychologists and other clinical social workers.

      Expands Medicare Hospital meaningful use incentive funding eligibility to include inpatient psychiatric hospitals;

      Expands Medicaid Hospital meaningful use incentive funding eligibility to include mental health treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals and substance abuse treatment facilities;

      Expands Medicaid Provider meaningful use incentive funding eligibility to include behavioral and mental health professionals, and substance abuse treatment professionals.
      This expansion is significant because it extends the incentives to psychiatric hospitals, as well as gives other types of treatment facilities access to larger incentives (e.g. through a broader definition of EPs or through Hospital incentives).

      Netsmart and industry groups, such as the National Association for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems and the National Association of Counties, were instrumental in the year-long effort to bring the omission of key mental health entities from the HITECH Act legislation to the attention of lawmakers.

      For more information and a copy of the amendment, visit www.ntst.com/legislation Please communicate your support of this important amendment to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A sample e-mail message and directory of House members is available on the Web page.

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