Yesterday I was able to talk to Kenton Wooden, Regional Director for U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D, IN) about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in regard to potentially providing funding for Electronic Medical Record systems for behavioral health organizations.
He said “Unfortunately right now things are still a bit vague because there is no Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary and department have 90 days after the ARRA was signed into law to break down exactly how grants and funds will be given and to whom they will go.” Evidently the spending plan is currently being written and there is some possibility it could be stretched to allow such expenditures. The new secretary may have a lot of discretion on this matter.
He strongly suggests partnering with states and national associations to urge the secretary to include behavioral healthcare.
This is a tremendous opportunity to advances the technological infrastructure of the nation’s behavioral healthcare system. It would be tragic for behavioral healthcare to have come this far, after the insurance parity victory, only to be excluded from ARRA .