Mullin, Matsui Introduce Legislation to Enhance Access to Health IT for Behavioral Health Providers
Washington, April 12, 2022
Tags: Health Issues
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) recently in introducing H.R. 7427, the Behavioral Health Information Technologies (BHIT) Now Act. This legislation would improve coordination of mental and physical health care by supporting behavioral health providers to adopt health IT systems.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have become an essential part of our modern healthcare system. However, mental health and substance use disorder providers have been historically left out of previous federal funding efforts to promote the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records and supporting technology. The BHIT Now Act seeks to deliver long overdue targeted funding that will ensure psychologists, clinical and social workers, as well as Community Mental Health Centers, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment centers can invest in the technology needed to support integrated, whole-person care.
“In order to effectively treat a patient, the doctor must see the whole picture,” said Mullin. “Many behavioral health providers have faced cost barriers to utilizing electronic health records, making it difficult to coordinate care with primary care providers. I’m proud to introduce this legislation that will increase access to IT for behavioral health care providers and improve the quality of care patients receive.”
“Health information technology is vital to improving health care quality and safety, and it is essential that we make sure our behavioral health providers are equipped with the IT systems to support their growth well into the future,” said Matsui. “Electronic health records are no longer novel technology – they have become a must-have for patients and providers in our modern health care ecosystem. This legislation will open up the door for more behavioral health providers to get their hands on the hardware, software and training they need to leverage vital technology that supports coordinated, high-value care.”
The BHIT Now Act provides $250 million total over three fiscal years (FY23-25) to finance behavioral health IT adoption through the CMS Innovation Center (CMMI). The legislation also directs the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop voluntary behavioral health IT standards.
Full text of the bill is available here.
The BHIT Now Act is supported by:
Washington, DC Office
2421 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2701 Fax: (202) 225-3038 Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-6:00pm ET
McAlester District Office
1 E. Choctaw, Suite 175 McAlester, OK 74501 Phone: (918) 423-5951 Fax: (918) 423-1940 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT
Claremore District Office
223 W. Patti Page Blvd., Claremore, OK 74017 Phone: (918) 283-6262 Fax: (918) 923-6451 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT