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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

MITECH Bill Extends Health IT Incentive Payments to Safety Net Clinics

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Legislation introduced this month in the House and Senate would make federal incentive payments for the use of health IT widely available to a variety of healthcare safety net providers, including community behavioral health centers.

The legislation is known as MITECH, the Medicaid Information Technology to Enhance Community Health (MITECH) Act (S. 1286/H.R. 2676). It was introduced by Senators John Rockefeller (D-WV), Al Franken (D-MN), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), along with Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA).

MITECH would add “safety net clinics and providers” to the types of entities currently eligible to receive incentive payments for the meaningful use of health IT. Written so as to include any clinic or network of clinics that is operated by a private non-profit or public entity with at least 30 percent of its patient volume attributable to “needy individuals,” the definition would apply to most community behavioral health organizations, along with free clinics, Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics, and others.

The new legislation complements the Behavioral Health IT Act, which would extend meaningful use payments to a broad array of mental health and addiction treatment providers and facilities. The National Council has been working with the bill’s congressional sponsors to secure re-introduction in the current Congress.