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Bill Would Allow Mental Health Providers To Get MU Incentives

Posted on November 25, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Right now, mental health providers aren’t eligible to get Meaningful Use incentive payments — but a new bill would make that possible.  U.S. Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, has filed legislation that would add mental health providers to HITECH, making them eligible for payments if they meet Meaningful Use standards, according to a story in Healthcare IT News.

The bill, the Behavioral Health Information Technology Coordination Act, is intended to “fix an oversight in the system,” said Portman in a press statement announcing its filing. “”[By] making 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.”

The announcement drew praise from a mental health trade organization in Portman’s home state. The CEO of the Ohio Council of Behavioral & Family Health Services Providers, Hubert Wirtz. “Adequate investment in healthcare information technology is critical to enabling mental health and addiction providers to implement systems that help them improve care coordination, provide quality care, measure outcomes and enable continuity of care between primary care, mental health and addiction services,” reports HIN.

However, it seems that Portman’s bill may not reach a vote, as it now sits in a congressional committee, the HIN story notes.

Regardless, though, Portman’s proposal is a good one. Good mental health outcomes, which the right EMR can enhance, can do much to address the health of a population, empowering consumers to take better care of their physical health.  What’s more, encouraging behavioral health providers to have a mental health EMR in place can share their findings smoothly with care managers (ideally PCPs) who can do their part to provide integrated care. All told, this seems like an idea whose time has come.

Valant Medical’s Mental Health EHR Closes $937,000 in Funding

Posted on December 13, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The money continues to flow into healthcare IT. Today’s announcement is an interesting funding, because it’s for a pretty niche healthcare IT product. Geek Wire announced that Valant Medical Solutions has closed a $937,000 angel round of funding.

Valant Medical Solutions, which has developed software to help psychiatrists manage billing and electronic medical records at their practices, has scored $937,000 in financing in an oversubscribed round, according to a SEC filing. The deal follows a $1 million round last December.

The timing was interesting since I’d been recently interacting with Valant Medical about possibly advertising across my network of EMR and EHR websites. I’m guessing a good portion of this new funding will go towards marketing their product and increasing their brand recognition.

As someone who has implemented an EMR in the mental health space, I can assure you that it’s quite different from a traditional EMR implementation. A simple example is the way a mental health counselor diagnosis. In mental health they use DSM IV as opposed to ICD-9, but the diagnosis also doesn’t usually change with every visit like it often does in most healthcare offices. Long story short, I think there’s definitely space for a behavioral health EMR to satisfy the unique needs of psychiatrists and counselors.

In the above linked article, I found this comment by David Lischner, founder of Valant Medical, quite interesting:

Our world domination strategy starts: “First with gaining market share, then connecting patients and providers, and lastly with providing a platform for transforming health care service delivery. Network effects will help us sustain market power as we add value to and extract revenue from all types of transactions within behavioral health care.”

I hope that Valant Medical makes it to the second and third things he mentioned. That’s when things should get really interesting.