Integrating Behavioral and Physical Health Care in New Jersey: Legal Requirements for the Sharing of Patient Health Information Among Treatment Providers
128 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2016
Date Written: June 2016
The chorus in favor of integrating behavioral and physical health services is strong and diverse, both at the federal level and in New Jersey. Providers, payers, regulators, patients, and academics are uniting behind the strong clinical behavioral health literature highlighting integration’s positive effects on access and clinical outcomes. But integration requires providers to share health information so they may coordinate care. Health care providers often report experiencing barriers to the exchange of health information with other providers. As care has been siloed, so too have many patient records, and it is not always clear who has the legal authority to access them.
The Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy at Seton Hall University School of Law (the Center) was asked to conduct a legal analysis, as part of New Jersey’s State Innovation Model Grant, of the barriers related to the sharing of patient health information in connection with the integration of physical and behavioral health care. To inform the legal analysis, the Center conducted a number of interviews with providers, regulators, health information exchanges (HIEs), health information organizations (HIOs), trade and professional associations, consultants, privacy attorneys, advocates, and researchers, to learn more about the specific problems providers face and the questions that need answering.
This Report has three main goals:
1. To summarize the Center’s legal analysis of federal and New Jersey laws regarding the sharing of patient health information among treatment providers;
2. To identify challenges to health information sharing among treatment providers that relate to these legal requirements; and
3. To suggest opportunities for the State to support provider exchange of treatment information for integration.
Keywords: Behavioral Health Integration, Barriers, Coordinated Care, Primary and Behavioral Health Integration, Privacy Law, HIPAA, Part 2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation