Posted on: October 21, 2018

ALBANY – Four behavioral health organizations that serve a wide range of patients are now securely sharing electronic health records through the Hixny health information exchange (HIE). These new connections join 100 percent of nonprofit and private hospitals and three out of four providers in northeastern New York who are connected through Hixny.

The organizations are Northern Rivers Family of Services, Greene County Mental Health, Hospitality House, and St. Catherine’s Center for Children.

Northern Rivers is the Albany-based parent of Parsons Child & Family Center and Northeast Parent & Child Society. Its 96 locations make up a community-based system of social and psychiatric services that support the behavioral health needs of children, adults and families in 36 counties. It is sharing patient data about conditions and problems, medications, plans of care, procedures, vital signs and encounters.

Greene County Mental Health is a county-run community mental health clinic in Cairo. It employs a full contingent of healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, social workers and psychiatric nurses, who see to the mental health needs of Greene County residents. Like Northern Rivers, it is securely sharing patient data about conditions and problems, medications, plans of care, procedures, vital signs and encounters.

Hospitality House, in Albany, is an all-male, intensive residential treatment facility for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. It is the first organization to connect to Hixny through Netsmart’s TIER, an electronic health record system used by organizations that provide inpatient or outpatient care for abstinence-based addiction treatment. Hospitality House is sharing records that contain each patient’s payer, preferred language, problems, care plan, chief complaint, encounters, social history and procedures.

St. Catherine’s Center for Children, also in Albany, serves children and families. Earlier this year, it began offering care management as the lead organization in a health home, a type of community collaborative that helps high-need patients navigate the healthcare system and ensures that their social, housing and food needs, among others, are met. St. Catherine’s is using Hixny to share social history for its homeless patrons.

This increase in the number of behavioral health organizations connecting to Hixny is driven by a few factors.

First, the State Department of Health’s Data Exchange Incentive Program (DEIP) is giving behavioral health providers, as well as primary care and long-term care organizations, an incentive to connect to a qualified, public HIE such as Hixny. The New York State Department of Health, with support from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is helping to defray the costs providers may incur when they connect to a public HIE. This is in order to encourage as many providers as possible to contribute patient data through the qualified HIEs and the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY) that connects them all.

Originally, the state set a deadline of 2018 for behavioral health providers to connect to Hixny or their local qualified HIE. Recently, that deadline was extended to make the connection and achieve all related milestones.

Also, the New York State Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) initiative, which was introduced in April, requires primary care practices that transform into PCMHs to integrate behavioral health into their patient care. The practices may work with community-based organizations to accomplish that goal and they must share patient information electronically to support the coordination of care.

Hixny’s four new connections are contributing to the continuous improvement in achieving meaningful exchanges of health information in the region. With more diverse connections, and with patient consent, members of the healthcare community in the region and across the state can access the records they need to better coordinate care for all New Yorkers.

Find the complete, updated list of data contributors on Hixny.org.