Medsphere, a provider of affordable and interoperable healthcare information technology (IT) solutions and services, expresses vigorous support for bipartisan legislation recently passed by the United States Senate that authorizes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to give behavioral health facilities financial incentives for adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). The Improving Access to Behavioral Health Information Technology Act, originally introduced by senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), now moves to the House for reconciliation with similar legislation.
The Improving Access bill seeks to build on the success of Meaningful Use legislation focused on acute care facilities, which has resulted in near complete adoption of EHRs by hospitals and clinics nationwide. Similar results in behavioral health would create a digital platform on which to develop a more comprehensive and integrated healthcare system that could be used to improve care and manage costs.
“Medsphere enthusiastically supports the efforts of senators Whitehouse and Portman to create a better behavioral healthcare system,” said Medsphere CEO Irv Lichtenwald. “This bill really is all about co-morbidities and chronic diseases, which are bankrupting individuals and families. An integrated approach to patient care and patient information is essential if we hope to both control rapid rises in costs and ease the crushing burden of mental illness. Financially and morally, resolving the mental illness and addiction crisis in America has become a matter of the highest urgency, and we appreciate the Senate’s efforts.”
Both the House and Senate bills have an overarching goal of reversing the ongoing fragmentation of the American mental health system; in recent years states have cut about $5 billion in mental health services and eliminated more than 4,500 public hospital beds.
Medsphere urges members of the House to engage in open and constructive debate and pass legislation that has measured, tangible impact on America’s mental healthcare crisis.