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Issue Brief: Sharing Behavioral Health Information Amid the Opiod Crisis

June 19, 2018

As the old model of patient care silos—where behavioral health providers treat patients separately from the rest of the healthcare system—breaks down, participants from across healthcare are attempting to access patient-specific behavioral health data to create integrated care models. Primary care providers are taking on a greater role in treating those with addictions, as are new players (teletherapy companies), and traditional entities (providers, health plans, pharmaceutical companies). The opioid epidemic has increased the need for behavioral health services and for healthcare stakeholders to seek a more active role in managing behavioral health.

On May 1, eHealth Initiative Foundation and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips hosted an executive advisory board on the role of health information technology in protecting and sharing behavioral health data amid the opioid crisis. The roundtable meeting, Sharing Behavioral Health Information in Light of the Opioid Epidemic, explored the role of privacy and security in the context of the crisis. Much of the discussion focused on the impact of policies and regulations that hinder the sharing of sensitive patient data and affects health outcomes. Experts and industry leaders from Walgreens, Surescripts, CRISP, OhioHealth, Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s office, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided information on the policies and technologies that affect the use of behavioral health information in patient care and discussed ways to address challenges.

This brief addresses the role of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), regulatory and legislative obstacles, including 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 2 (42 CFR Part 2), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and aims to provide potential solutions for tackling the opioid crisis.

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