HIT: Time to End Behavioral Health Discrimination
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- Rosenberg, L. J Behav Health Serv Res (2012) 39: 336. doi:10.1007/s11414-012-9297-8
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While the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provided $20.6 billion for incentive payments to support the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (HIT), behavioral health organizations were not eligible to receive facility payments. The consequences of excluding behavioral health from HIT incentive payments are found in the results of the "HIT Adoption and Meaningful Use Readiness in Community Behavioral Health" survey. The survey found that only 2% of community behavioral health organizations are able to meet federal meaningful use (MU) requirements—compare this to the 27% of Federally Qualified Health Centers and 20% of hospitals that already meet some level of MU requirements. Behavioral health organizations, serving more than eight million adults, children, and families with mental illnesses and addiction disorders, are ready and eager to adopt HIT to meet the goals of better healthcare, better health, and lower costs. But reaching these goals may prove impossible unless behavioral health achieves "parity" within healthcare and receives resources for the adoption of HIT.