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SAMHSA and ONC Launch the Behavioral Health Information Technology Initiative

According to the The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), these agencies will work together to invest more than $20 million of SAMHSA funds over the next three years, in order to advance health information technology (IT) in behavioral health care and practice settings. The project supports is consistent with the President’s call to action to prevent, treat, and provide long-term recovery supports for mental illness and substance use disorders.

According to these agencies, IT adoption among behavioral health providers currently lags behind other providers due to their ineligibility to participate in health IT incentive programs, such as those under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Lack of access to the right technology tools and the benefits they bring, such as better patient access, care planning, and reporting, negatively impact provider’s ability to provide access to certain types of treatments.

The Behavioral Health Information Technology (BHIT) Initiative will identify and pilot a set of behavioral health-specific data elements with SAMHSA’s Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant (SUPTRS BG) and Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) grantees.

Stay tuned for more information from these agencies. For now they encourage interested parties to sign up for email updates to learn the latest on ONC’s activities.

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