IT touted in CMS initiative to improve substance abuse treatment

The use of health information technology to enhance care coordination is part of a new initiative announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week to improve access to substance use disorder treatment options.

The demonstration initiative aims to "support comprehensive, evidence based service delivery approaches to SUD treatment," particularly for states struggling to provide such care. Care coordination design, CMS says, is "integral" to reform.

"This entails developing processes to ensure seamless transitions and information sharing between levels and settings of care … as well as a collaboration between types of healthcare," Vikki Wachino, director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS, says in a letter to state Medicaid directors. "CMS encourages states to test how to best achieve care transitions across the care continuum, including aftercare and recovery support services CMS encourages states to support electronic health information exchange, including the use of ONC-certified health IT products, to improve care coordination consistent with federal health privacy [HIPAA] and confidentiality [42 CFR Part 2] requirements." Letter (.pdf)