Legislation Would Extend Meaningful Use to Mental Health

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) has introduced legislation that would extend “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program payments to mental health providers.

Currently, meaningful use incentive payments—funding intended to speed adoption of electronic health records—are only available for providers such as medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists and chiropractors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) has introduced companion legislation in the US House of Representatives.

“Due to a disconnect between our nation’s doctors and mental health care professionals, Americans suffering from mental illness are among the nation’s most underserved and overlooked populations,” said Portman in a statement. “By fixing an oversight in the system and making Health IT the bedrock to fully integrated care, my bill will enhance care and treatment for the mentally ill and put them on a path to lead healthy and productive lives.”

Mental health groups have praised the legislation, which was sent to congressional committee in the Senate on November 12, where it is not expected to come up for a vote.


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