The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization has issued a report on its two-year project to integrate behavioral-health information into broader health information exchange
The 36-page report, "Supporting Integration of Behavioral Health Care Through Health Information Exchange" (PDF), is available on the CORHIO website.
To remove what was termed a "barrier" to health information exchange, CORHIO worked with other behavioral-health community members to pass an amendment to Colorado law last year. The revision eliminated a requirement that providers obtain consent from behavioral health patients for the transfer of their medical records for treatment, aligning Colorado law with the less-stringent federal privacy rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Following a 2002 rule modification by HHS, the HIPAA rule no longer requires providers to obtain patient consent for the disclosure of patient records for treatment, payment and other healthcare operations.
The CORHIO report also calls for amending and broadening the federal law's consent requirements governing providers of federally supported drug or alcohol treatment programs that require patient consent for release of patient records for such treatment. The report notes that mental-health centers that have integrated substance-abuse and behavioral-health treatment programs "are likely to be required to follow these limiting federal regulations."