Legislation that incorporates psychiatric care into the acute-care spectrum and extends EHR incentives to behavioral health facilities has been proposed for going on five years now.
A show of hands: Who believes depression or bipolar disorder have no impact on the severity and treatment of a patient’s diabetes and COPD?
It’s an idea no practicing physician would support.
Yet time and again, we act as though mental illness and care can be kept separate from physical ailments.
Take Meaningful Use (MU), for example. The federal government believes healthcare must move into the digital age and is willing to pay hospitals to buy computer systems and electronic health records (EHRs).
But the financial rewards of demonstrated MU only extend to acute care hospitals and clinics, not psychiatric facilities, as though human health can be partitioned and compartmentalized.
While treating patients holistically has been accepted clinically for decades, some behavioral health advocates are turning up the pressure now to finally also bring behavioral health IT into the digital age.