30 May Doyle signs bill that impacts electronic medical records
Madison, Wis. – A bill to clarify the definition of records for the treatment of mental health, and to make it easier to incorporate them into Electronic Health Records, has been signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle.
Senate Bill 650 creates an exception to current law pertaining to the confidentiality of treatment records, allowing physicians easier access to mental health records when they are treating patients for other conditions. Physicians need the information so they can determine whether medication or other treatment they prescribe is compatible with treatments for mental illness.
The bill limits the sharing of information to the patient’s name, address, date of birth, the name of the patient’s mental health treatment provider, dates of provided mental health services, the individual’s medications, allergies, and diagnosis, and other “relevant demographic information necessary for the current treatment.”
The bill also was written to improve the effectiveness of treatment in healthcare organizations with multiple service providers, maximizing the use of Electronic Health Record systems. Some large health organizations are farther down the path of adopting EHRs than smaller, rural hospitals.
In addition to clarifying the definition of records relating to mental health treatment, it also sharpens the definition of records relating to developmental disability, alcoholism, and drug dependence.