Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) introduced the Behavioral Health Information Technology (BHIT) Coordination Act to improve coordination of mental and physical health care by supporting behavioral health providers’ efforts to adopt health information technology (IT) systems.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it is essential that behavioral health care providers have the same access to the technology and electronic health records that other practices utilize daily,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This bipartisan bill will help improve the quality of behavioral health care for Nevadans across the state.”
Electronic Health Records (EHR) have become a necessary component of modern health care, allowing providers to communicate with patients more seamlessly, coordinate care and improve patient outcomes. However, previous federal funding efforts to promote the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records and supporting technology have historically left out mental health and substance use disorder providers. The BHIT Coordination Act seeks to deliver long overdue targeted funding to ensure behavioral health providers can invest in the technology needed to support integrated, whole-person care.
- Provides $20 million a year in grant funding over five fiscal years (FY25-29) to finance behavioral health IT adoption through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
- Requires a report to Congress on the number and type of behavioral health care providers that receive the grant, their ability to electronically exchange patient health information with other provider types, and clinical and non-clinical outcomes for patients.
- Directs ONC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop voluntary behavioral health IT standards.
- Directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), SAMHSA, and ONC to develop joint guidance on how states can use Medicaid authorities and funding sources to promote the adoption and interoperability of certified EHR technology for behavioral health providers.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in the Senate on mental health issues. She helped implement and fund the nation’s 988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline, passed bipartisan legislation to expand behavioral health crisis support services, and successfully fought to include $1 billion for school mental health services in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that was signed into law. Senator Cortez Masto secured federal funding to help Clark County School District better support students recovering from substance use disorder and mental health crises and to address the shortage of school psychologists in the state with a new training facility at Nevada State College.