Legislation Corrects Oversight That Excluded Key Entities from Medicaid and Medicare Funding Eligibility
GREAT RIVER, N.Y., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Netsmart Technologies, Inc., a provider of enterprise-wide software and services for health and human services organizations, today urged support for the Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010.
Introduced today by U.S. Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Tim Murphy (R-PA), 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 that were not previously included as eligible in the HITECH Act, a component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
The proposed amendment 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, 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.
"As co-chairs of the 21st Century Health Care Caucus, Congressman Murphy and I have long advocated for the adoption of electronic health records as an efficient means to lower health care costs and reduce medical errors," said Kennedy. "This legislation would further extend the incentives included in the HITECH Act to the mental and behavioral health community. It acknowledges what was established with the passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act – that we need to treat illnesses of the brain just as we would ailments of any other part of the body."
"This proposed legislation corrects an oversight that excluded a major component of the U.S. healthcare system from critical funding that will help organizations accelerate their adoption of Electronic Health Records," said James L. Conway, chief executive officer, Netsmart Technologies. "We have worked with behavioral health industry and advocacy organizations for nearly a year to help bring this oversight to the attention of key policymakers. We're gratified that Representatives Kennedy and Murphy and the amendment's co-sponsors, Representatives Gene Green (D-TX), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), and Christopher Murphy (D-CT) have introduced this legislation that recognizes the need to treat the entire person, including both primary and behavioral health, which many times are interrelated."
Netsmart is well-positioned to help its customers qualify for the incentives that begin in 2011. Netsmart's Avatar™, CMHC/MIS and Insight enterprise software products, in conjunction with Netsmart's order entry, e-prescribing, interoperability technology and consumer Web portal solutions will equip behavioral and public health provider organizations with the functionality required to meet Meaningful Use criteria.
To read the full text of the Behavioral Health HITECH Amendment Act of 2010, to view questions and answers about the legislation, and to receive information about how to assess your organization's readiness to qualify for incentive funds, visit www.ntst.com/legislation.
About Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
Netsmart Technologies is an established, leading supplier of enterprise software and software as a service (SaaS) solutions for health and human services providers. More than 18,000 customer organizations, including 350,000 care providers and nearly 40 state systems, use Netsmart products to help improve the quality of life for millions of people each year.
Netsmart customers include mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, 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.
Netsmart's Avatar PM 2006 Release 02 is a CCHIT Certified® 2006 Ambulatory EHR.
Netsmart's Connected Care initiative allows behavioral and public healthcare providers to share clinical data electronically within their internal processes, externally with other providers, and with consumers via a Web-based portal, enabling high quality, consumer-directed care.
Netsmart provides solutions that help its customers meet the evolving definition of "meaningful use" under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. These include use of a certified electronic health record, the InfoScriber® e-prescribing service, the Netsmart CareConnect™ service that enables the sharing of clinical information through health information exchanges, the Netsmart ConsumerConnect™ Web portal to provide consumer access to their care information, and a flexible platform to capture and share outcomes data.
For information about Netsmart Technologies' full range of solutions for health and human services organizations, visit www.ntst.com or call 1-800-421-7503, Option 6.
InfoScriber is a registered trademark of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
Avatar software is a trademark of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
Netsmart CareConnect and Netsmart ConsumerConnect are trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
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.
SOURCE Netsmart Technologies, Inc.