OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Netsmart, the leading provider of clinical solutions for health and human services organizations nationwide, today urged support for the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2012.
Introduced as H.R. 6043 on June 28 by U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), the proposed amendment 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. Co-sponsors of H.R. 6043 include U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Marino (R-PA), John Sullivan (R-OK) and Pat Tiberi (R-OH). A similar amendment (S. 539) was introduced in the U.S. Senate in March 2011 by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
"This amendment, introduced and sponsored by members of both major parties, would correct an oversight that excludes major components of the U.S. healthcare system from critical funding that would help them better serve the nearly 25% of the U.S. population that is afflicted with a mental illness," said Kevin Scalia, Netsmart executive vice president of corporate development. "Our clients are being asked to become more efficient and tightly integrated with the rest of healthcare. All parties agree that technology is fundamental to making that happen. Congress made this point with the original HITECH Act by providing incentives for the implementation of integrated health records, and now these leaders in Congress have said that the same needs to be true for behavioral health."
H.R. 6043 clarifies the definition of "Eligible Professional" to include behavioral and mental health professionals, substance abuse professionals, psychiatric hospitals, and residential and outpatient mental health and substance use treatment facilities. It also expands Medicaid/Medicare incentives through the following:
- Expands the types of providers that are eligible for the Medicaid and Medicare funding incentives for the Meaningful Use of EHRs to include clinical psychologists and licensed social workers. Currently, behavioral healthcare provider organizations can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive funds only through the current definition of Eligible Professionals, 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 licensed 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
"Netsmart advocated tirelessly for nearly two years on behalf of both the House and Senate bills," said Scalia. "As the leader in our field, we believe we have an obligation to aggregate the voices of our clients and other providers in this industry to advocate for parity for behavioral health, whether that involves the services provided to consumers or the technology needed by providers that serve them," said Scalia.
Netsmart was also instrumental in the founding of the Behavioral Health Information Technology Coalition, composed of psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, psychologists, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the National Association of Counties, the Jewish Federation of North America and several other organizations that have combined to fight for HITECH Act funding for behavioral health providers.
Netsmart is well-positioned to help its clients qualify for EHR Meaningful Use incentive funding, both now and if the amendments are approved. The company's Avatar™, TIER®, CMHC/MIS and Insight™ enterprise solutions are certified under ONC, enabling Netsmart clients using these solutions to qualify for Meaningful Use incentive funds now under current program guidelines.
For more information about H.R. 6043 and S. 539 and how you can support the proposed legislation, visit www.ntst.com/legislation.
About Netsmart Technologies
Netsmart Technologies helps health and human services organizations transform care through the collaborative, coordinated management and exchange of clinical data across the care spectrum and through effective practice management that improves revenue cycle management. More than 18,000 client organizations, including 350,000 care providers and more than 40 state systems, use Netsmart products to help improve the quality of life for tens of millions of people each year. Netsmart clients include mental health and substance use treatment agencies, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, social services and child and family health agencies, vital records offices, and managed care organizations. Netsmart's products are full-featured information systems that operate on a variety of operating systems, hardware platforms, and mobile devices, and offer unlimited scalability.
For information about Netsmart's full range of solutions for health and human services organizations, visit www.ntst.com or call 1-800-472-5509. Also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and visit us on YouTube.
Avatar and Insight are trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
TIER is a registered trademark.
Avatar 2011, CMHC/MIS 4.2 and Insight 7.0 EHR Module are 2011/2012 compliant and have been certified by the Drummond Group, an ONC-ATCB in accordance with the applicable certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This certification does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or guarantee the receipt of incentive payments.
Netsmart's TIER® v7.0, is 2011/2012 compliant (CC-1112-29620-1) and has been certified as a Complete EHR by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®), an ONC-ATCB, in accordance with the applicable Eligible Provider certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The analysis, interpretations, and conclusions presented herein represent Netsmart's best judgment regarding the possible impact of Meaningful Use at the time of publication or release, and are provided as general information only, and not as legal or financial advice. Provider organizations should obtain qualified professional legal and financial opinions on the meaning and impact of the provisions of this policy on their particular organization prior to making any business plans or decisions.