House lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation (HB 6043) that would allow behavioral health care providers to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments, Health Data Management reports.
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for incentive payments through Medicaid and Medicare.
Details of HB 6043
HB 6043 would amend the list of professionals who are eligible for meaningful use incentive payments to include:
- Behavioral health, mental health and substance misuse treatment professionals;
- Clinical psychologists;
- Licensed social workers;
- Psychiatric hospitals; and
- Residential and outpatient mental health and substance misuse treatment facilities.
The bill is sponsored by:
- Rep Marsha Blackburn (D-Tenn.);
- Rep. Tom Marino (R-Penn.);
- Rep. Tim Murphy (D-Penn.);
- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio);
- Rep. John Sullivan (D-Okla.); and
- Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) (Goedert, Health Data Management, 6/29).
Details of Senate Bill
In March 2011, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced a similar bill (S 539) in the Senate that would make health IT incentive payments available to mental health care, behavioral health care and substance misuse treatment professionals and facilities.
Specifically, the Senate bill would:
- Extend Medicaid and Medicare meaningful use incentive payment eligibility to licensed psychologists and clinical social workers;
- Expand Medicaid incentive funding eligibility to community mental health centers, mental health treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals and clinics that offer substance misuse services;
- Extend Medicare incentive payment eligibility to inpatient psychiatric hospitals; and
- Clarify the eligibility of certain behavioral health care providers for technical assistance from regional extension centers (iHealthBeat, 3/16/11).
The Senate bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance (Bill status, 7/2).