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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

DC Hosts 9th Annual National Health IT Week

September 17, 2014 | Health Information Technology | Comments
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This week in Washington, DC the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) hosts the 9th Annual National Health IT (NHIT) Week . With more than 400 partners, including the National Council, NHIT Week is a collaborative forum and virtual awareness week, bringing health IT to the forefront of the legislative agenda. As a partner, the National Council identifies this as an important week to discuss the role and future of health IT and behavioral health providers, specifically the Behavioral Health IT Act.

The Behavioral Health IT Act corrects an oversight in the 2009 HITECH Act that excluded mental health and substance use treatment providers and facilities from much-needed funding to enhance care coordination and quality. This lack of financial incentives has hindered successful EHR implementation among behavioral health providers. To date, less than 30 percent have successfully implemented full or partial electronic health record systems. Without the inclusion of behavioral health providers in information technology, there will never be true electronic care coordination.

Visit the National Health IT Week website for a list of this week’s agenda or to find out how to promote NHIT week in your hometown. Engage with NHIT Week and share information about your organization’s use of health IT on social media the hashtag #NHITweek.

With Congress still in session, National Health IT Week is a great opportunity for all involved to help shape the discussion around IT and make it clear to legislators where we need improvement. If you have not already done so, please send a message to your legislator to support the Behavioral Health IT Act.