Last week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) re-introduced the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011, a bill that would expand federal health information technology payments to previously ineligible community behavioral health providers and organizations. This legislation was originally introduced in 2010 by Sen. Whitehouse and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 12 Senators; however, it did not make it through the legislative process before Congress adjourned.
S. 539 would expand federal incentive payments for the adoption of health information to behavioral and mental health professionals, psychiatric hospitals, mental health treatment facilities, and substance abuse treatment facilities. By expanding HIT incentive payments to behavioral health providers, this legislation will provide much needed funding for community behavioral health organizations as they seek to implement electronic health records and improve care quality.
Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) is seeking additional cosponsors so as to build support for the legislation. Please reach out to your Senators today and urge them to sign on to S. 539.