Senate: CMS to incentivize behavioral health providers to adopt EHRs.

NYAPRS Note: A bill to watch and strongly support! Stay tuned….

Mental Health EHR bill Clears Senate

By Mohana Ravindranath  Politico  May 8, 2018

The (US) Senate has passed legislation that would authorize CMS to incentivize behavioral health providers to adopt EHRs.

The Improving Access to Behavioral Health Information Technology Act, introduced last summer by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rob Portman, will advance to the House, where Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Doris Matsui have introduced a companion bill.

The bill would offer incentives to behavioral health providers that adopt EHRs. The Electronic Health Record Association, which presents vendors, said in a letter to legislators that the bill would help battle the opioid crisis by linking EHRs with state prescription drug monitoring programs and encouraging sharing among providers treating addicted patients.

The bill originated as a way to extend the federal Meaningful Use program, which doled out more than $30 billion to providers to adopt EHRs.

The bill could encourage providers to put data about their patients at risk, said critic Nancy Anthracite, CEO of WorldVista.

Deidentified behavioral data could be re-identified, and therapists "are very concerned about privacy," she said. "Many are already against using electronic health records because of fear of being hacked."