Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SAMHSA Awards HIT Grants

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within HHS awarded $13.2 million in new grants to support expanding HIT in healthcare settings serving people with mental and substance use disorders.

As part of the initiative, 47 community health centers working to integrate primary care and behavioral health services will receive a one year grant for $200,000. The funding will be used to develop HIT infrastructure and to expand the use of EHRs. Once the EHR systems are in place, patients and providers will have access to the latest information on effective treatments and support systems and be able to exchange health information through secure means with appropriate patient permission.

In addition, SAMHSA announced that a $3.8 million grant was awarded to assist community health centers and state designated agencies to help implement EHRs. The grant award was made to the National Council on Community Behavioral Health Care to work to integrate primary and behavioral health care in community-based settings.

“Electronic health records improve quality, accountability, and cost effectiveness of healthcare services,” said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “Persons with behavioral health problems often have significant physical health issues as well. These grants are a critical down payment on the HIT investment needed to ensure that behavioral health service providers are fully interoperable with the general health system.”