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Achieving meaningful use incentives for the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) is a popular topic in the healthcare industry. Two new bills regarding this issue were recently introduced in Congress, which will expand eligibility EHR incentives to mental healthcare providers and facilities. The bills will help expand the types of providers that are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid incentives for the use of EHR.
Please show your support for these two important bills by writing to Congress using the forms available below.
S. 539: Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011
Summary: A bill to amend the Public Health Services Act and the Social Security Act to extend health information technology assistance eligibility to behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse professionals and facilities, and for other purposes.
• Amends the Public Health Service Act to expand the definition of "health care provider" for purposes of health information technology provisions to include a behavioral or mental health professional, a substance abuse professional, a psychiatric hospital, a community mental health center, a residential or outpatient mental health treatment facility, and a substance abuse treatment facility.
• Adds community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, behavioral and mental health professionals, substance abuse professionals, residential or outpatient mental health treatment facilities, and substance abuse treatment facilities to the list of entities with priority for receiving direct assistance from regional extension centers to effectively adopt, implement, and utilize health information technology.
• Amends titles XVIII (Medicare) and XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to include qualified clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, residential or outpatient mental health treatment facilities, and substance abuse treatment facilities within the health professionals, hospitals, and Medicaid providers eligible for incentive payments for the meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
• Applies Medicare hospital market basket adjustments for such incentives applicable to inpatient hospitals to psychiatric hospitals.
H.R. 2729: Health IT Modernization for Underserved Communities Act of 2011
Summary: On Aug. 1, Karen Bass, a House Democrat from California’s 33rd District, introduced the Health IT Modernization for Underserved Communities Act of 2011 (H.R. 2729). The bill, co-sponsored by Lee Terry, a House Republican from Nebraska’s 2nd District, would amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to extend to physician assistants (PAs) eligibility for Medicaid incentive payments for the adoption and use of certified EHRs, whether or not such PAs practice at a rural health center or federally qualified health center. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.