Behavioral Health Organizations Begin Receiving Incentive Payments for Health IT

by Rebecca Farley on August 18, 2011

National Council member in Oklahoma is first behavioral health provider to receive funds

EHR Incentive PaymentsThroughout 2011, states have begun disbursing Medicaid incentive payments to healthcare providers for the meaningful use of health information technology. Among the many providers receiving these payments are several behavioral health organizations, who qualify for the program by having “eligible professionals” (physicians and/or nurse practitioners) on staff.

Grand Lake Mental Health Center in Nowata, Oklahoma – a member of the National Council – was the first behavioral health center in the country to receive incentive payments for its electronic health record. GLMHC received $189,000 in April in the first installment of its payments by attesting to meeting the meaningful use requirements outlined in federal law. Most recently, D&E Counseling Center in Youngstown, Ohio, Unison Behavioral Health in Toledo, and Regional Mental Health in Lake County, Indiana also received incentive payments.

Although behavioral health organizations are not currently eligible to receive facility payments under the HITECH Act, they may still receive payments for any of their eligible professionals (EPs) on staff. Eligible professionals must register on the CMS website in order to receive the payments and must attest to meeting the meaningful use requirements using a certified electronic health record. EPs working at behavioral health organizations should enter their employer’s tax ID number during the registration process so as to reassign the payments to that organization.

There are many resources available to assist behavioral health organizations in taking advantage of meaningful use incentive payments:

  1. National Council LIVE Webinar: “Get Ready for HIT Incentive Payments in 2011” Slides
  2. National Council LIVE Webinar: “Meaningful Use Incentives: Small Steps for Great Reward” Slides and Recording
  3. Frequently Asked Questions: Meaningful Use Funds for Behavioral Health
  4. Meaningful Use Step-by-Step Guide for behavioral health providers
  5., a resource for behavioral health organizations
  6. The Impact of Meaningful Use on Behavioral Health: a white paper describing incentive payments, how to qualify, and more
  7. CMS Incentive Programs website

Visit the CMS Incentive Payment website to see a list of which states are already offering incentive payments, and which states will be rolling out their incentive programs in the coming months. More information about meaningful use and incentive payments is available on the Health IT section of


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