Accountable Care Organizations, which used to be the wave of the future, are the here and now. As groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers come together to coordinate care, it is essential they include behavioral health providers in the mix. According to a recent National Comorbidity Survey, 17 percent of the adult population had comorbid mental and medical conditions within a 12-month period. Patients with comorbidities require a comprehensive treatment plan to truly bend the cost curve. For example, statistics show a person with diabetes will cost an average of $9,000 per year to treat. However If that person also has a diagnosis of a behavioral health and/or a substance use disorder, that number skyrockets to more than $36,000 per year. ACOs focused on the whole person will be much better positioned to achieve the needed outcomes and cost reductions required within ACO populations.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) outlined the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) through Meaningful Use. The MU requirements include functional capabilities for clinical decision support rules. Any organization or provider going after MU incentive dollars are getting acquainted with decision support functionalities.
The Goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 emphasizes the need for the U.S. to move toward the use of electronic health records. To encourage a widespread adoption of interoperable health information technology, the legislation called for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT working through NIST, to create a program for voluntary certification of health information technology that is in compliance with the applicable certification criteria to meet defined meaningful use requirements. Meaningful Use stage 1 started the U.S. down this path by pushing healthcare organizations to select an electronic health record and to start their path of digitization. Continue reading Ready or Not: Meaningful Use Stage 2 is Here! This Change has Been Coming at You for a Long, Long Time. How Did that Happen?