The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), in June 2021, released a report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP. Chapter 4 looks at how EHRs can be used to strengthen clinical integration and improve patient care.
According to the report, EHR adoption remains low among behavioral health providers. The Commission has previously commented on the siloed nature of physical and behavioral health care as well as the fragmented delivery systems for mental health and SUD.
Generally, behavioral health providers treat SUD and/or mental health conditions. Specialty behavioral health providers and programs interact on a limited basis with other parts of the healthcare system.
Although EHRs allow providers to retrieve and electronically transfer patient information, behavioral health providers are left out of large scale federal efforts to promote clinical data sharing.
The report discusses the actions that need to be taken by clinicians and care coordinators to provide person-centered care such are:
- Care coordinators or care managers need to act as single points of contact for patients and as hubs for the multiple providers treating a patients. Care coordinators can be located in behavioral health, physical health or in other settings
- Co-location referring to physically locating behavioral health and physical health providers in the same facility encourages face-to-face contact between providers, and fosters communication about patients
- Sharing clinical and other patient information can help care managers and providers from different disciplines communicate and coordinate care. EHRs can give patients and providers immediate access to clinical data.
- Formal and informal arrangements between providers of behavioral health, physical health, and auxiliary community-based services can enable beneficiaries to have access to all services
- Providing successful screening and referrals to treatment requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to identifying appropriate treatments
- Introducing the concepts of behavioral health and interdisciplinary to care teams during training can influence the future healthcare workforce’s expectations about clinical practices
Also needed is easier access to state HIEs. However, behavioral health providers confront barriers to access since they often have limited capital to invest in technology and most are ineligible to receive federal incentive payments to use to adopt new technology.
Go to https://www.macpac.gov for the Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP June 2021.