Fine Print: Rules for Exchanging Behavioral Health Information in California
July 24, 2015
Robert Belfort, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Alex Dworkowitz, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Integration of physical and behavioral health care, which is essential to achieving the triple aim, requires the exchange of sensitive patient information. Health care providers, health plans, and public agencies on all sides of behavioral health integration efforts report difficulties sharing critical information. Challenges include:
Cost of adopting and maintaining associated health information technology
Federal and state law confidentiality requirements
Disparate electronic health record (EHR) systems that do not easily “talk” with one another
An entrenched culture of separate systems unaccustomed to working together as one care team
The report describes federal and California laws that control the exchange of behavioral health information. It also profiles three local initiatives that enable sharing of behavioral health data for care coordination and describes lessons learned through these efforts.
Finally, the report offers possible avenues for clarification and interpretation of legal requirements that could facilitate better integration of behavioral and physical health care and information exchange.