Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011

What Does Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011 Mean?

The Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011 is a bill designed to expand Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for the use of electronic health records (EHR) to include the following eligible providers and eligible health care facilities:

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  • Licensed psychologists
  • Clinical social workers
  • Community mental health centers
  • Inpatient psychiatric hospitals
  • Substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Mental health treatment facilities

This bill became necessary because providers of the services above were excluded from previous legislation.

Techopedia Explains Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011

It is paramount that U.S. health initiatives that aim to further use the EHR continue to include and clarify relevant laws derived from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011 was implemented for those exact reasons.

Behavioral health EHRs are considered private information, and the development of software to improve health information exchange, in the context of regulatory laws and incentive payments, has privacy advocates demanding controls to ensure that data is kept private.

The need for incentive payments arises because many private health care practices are run by small eligible providers who feel inept at EHR development. Major EHR vendors either do not wish to take on such small projects, do not have ample EHR security in place, and/or cannot provide custom-made operating systems in order to meet the tight security demands required by behavioral health care specialists and their patients.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.