Licensed psychologists, clinical social workers and mental-health facilities would qualify for some of the $19 billion in federal payments for clinicians and medical centers that adopt and use qualifying electronic health-record systems, under newly proposed legislation.
Bill would expand EHR program to more mental-health workers
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) has introduced a bill that would add psychologists, clinical social workers, community mental-health centers, mental-health treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals and substance abuse treatment facilities to the list of healthcare providers eligible to receive payments through the program.
That incentive program, established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, offers payments to qualifying recipients for the meaningful use of eligible EHR systems.
Mental-health clinicians and facility operators, including substance-abuse treatment professionals, have pushed to be included in the program since its enactment. Psychiatrists already are eligible to participate.
"Mental healthcare is a critical component of our healthcare safety net, and allowing these providers access to cost-saving, quality-enhancing advances in health information technology will improve the care that millions of American receive," Whitehouse said in a written statement. "By expanding the use of electronic health records, my legislation will give mental health professionals access to comprehensive and up-to-date medical histories, enhancing the precision of diagnoses and reducing medication errors."
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