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Showing 5 posts in Mental Health Care.

HHS Finalizes Exception to HIPAA Privacy Rule for Firearm Background Checks

In January of 2016, the Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) issued a final rule modifying the HIPAA Privacy Rule.[1] This modification allows certain covered entities to disclose the identities of certain individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”), a database maintained by the FBI. The information disclosed by the entities would pertain to an individual’s mental health, preventing those subject to a federal “mental health prohibitor” from possessing or receiving a firearm. Such a disclosure naturally creates a tension in the patient-provider relationship, however, and critics contend it could potentially discourage mentally ill individuals from seeking treatment.


[1] 45 C.F.R. §164 (2016) More >

Changes and Challenges for Mental and Behavioral Health Providers

As Kentucky’s Senate Bill 192 highlights, coverage and treatment of substance abuse problems is dramatically changing as the current penal model is slowly being replaced with a treatment model. Even terminology for what has been called "drug addiction" is now referred to as a "substance disorder" problem. Behavioral health has become the new catchall name for both mental health and substance disorders. As substance disorders become medical problems rather than drug abuse problems, the Federal Mental Health Parity Act and the Affordable Care Act now mandate that substance disorders and mental health problems, which often go hand in hand, must be covered by health insurance just as medical problems are covered. As of January 1, 2015, these illnesses must also covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Paving the road for coverage, however, has not been easy as a wealth of new federal and state government regulations are creating a complicated framework with a host of changes for behavioral health providers. While Kentucky struggles to provide and pay for services for the 150,000+ new Medicaid beneficiaries, these new laws and regulations significantly affect not just behavioral health providers, but also employers as the struggle to treat individuals who suffer from these maladies is addressed. More >

Guidance on Minors’ Mental Health & the HIPAA Privacy Rule

On Tuesday, some aspects of the new guidance issued by HHS related to mental health and the HIPAA Privacy Rule were discussed. Today’s topic covers the guidance highlights as they relate to minors’ mental health. More >

Guidance on Mental Health & the HIPAA Privacy Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued guidance entitled, “HIPAA Privacy Rule and Sharing Information Related to Mental Health.” As the title implies, it offers information as to when it may be permissible under HIPAA for health care providers to share information related to a patient’s mental health, including instances when the patient may be a minor. The direction, issued in the form of Q&As, comes as HHS seeks to strike a balance between a patient’s privacy rights in mental health records and public safety concerns. The clarifications could not come at a better time, as the health care industry prepares for an influx of patients who now have insurance that includes mental health coverage.  Below are some of the highlights from the guidance: More >

Major Money Marked for Addiction Treatment in Kentucky

Posted In Essential Health Benefits, KASPER, Mental Health Care

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has long suffered from a prescription drug abuse and methamphetamine problem, and heroin use has also been on the rise recently. As a result, more than $32 million is being set aside to help address the growing substance abuse problem in Kentucky. The much-needed funds are a result of settlements with two pharmaceutical companies, according to Attorney General Jack Conway. More >

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