SPOTLIGHT: Bill seeks expansion of 'meaningful use' bonuses to mental health

Physicians in hospital-based outpatient clinics now are eligible for federal EMR incentive payments, as President Obama has signed into law legislation that removes a restriction in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Meanwhile, two longtime health IT advocates in Congress have introduced legislation that would expand the forthcoming "meaningful use" program to behavioral and mental health professionals. The proposed Health IT Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act (H.R. 5040), from Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), would make psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, psychiatric hospitals and substance-abuse treatment professionals and facilities eligible to receive Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments for adopting EMRs. FierceEMR