In the April 4, 2016 edition of Part B News, Rebecca Gwilt talks about integration of behavioral health care into acute and primary care settings.
"For individual physicians, simply instituting a process to administer basic depression screening is an easy first step,” says Gwilt. That might be the kind of depression screening attached to annual wellness visits, which may be quite simple (PBN 3/14/16). Or you can kick it up a notch with something like the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire depression eval), the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) or the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)."
On February 5, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell, announced a proposed rule that would update privacy rules regarding substance abuse records--for the first time since 1987. This proposed rule has the potential to ease barriers to streamlined and efficient exchange of patient information across the care spectrum.
On January 6, 2016, in a dramatic national press conference, President Obama announced several actions by his administration to address gun violence in the US. One of these actions is a long-planned modification to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The same day, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Final Rule adding a permitted disclosure to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which expressly permits a limited number of Covered Entities to disclose protected health information (PHI) of certain individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The modification is aimed at removing one barrier to expanding the quality of the information in NICS, which is used by firearms vendors to disqualify potential purchasers who are federally barred from owning firearms.