News from the Front: SATVA, BH-EHR, FTC

Last week, Seth and I attended the semi-annual member meeting of the Software and Technology Vendor Association (SATVA), the behavioral health software and technology trade association to which SOS belongs. At one time, SOS, like many other companies moved along based more on the spoken needs of our customers rather than on long-term projections about what would be required of our industry. Several years ago, we joined SATVA in order to more successfully keep up with information about the mental health software community. I am really glad we did.

In the time since we joined SATVA, the rate of change in the health care marketplace has rapidly accelerated. It is a major challenge for a small company like ours to keep up with all of the information that emerges daily. SATVA is a significant help in that regard. Last year at the late fall meeting, we learned a great deal about certification of behavioral health electronic health record (BH-EHR) programs. This year we discussed the impending release of the draft requirements for that certification and whether it will really be useful for behavioral health organizations.

SATVA has created a section of its web site that is dedicated to keeping a close watch on the certification process. It is a great place for you to get a relatively brief but detailed view of the information related to certification.

We are very proud to be members of SATVA. We are constantly impressed by the individual and collective knowledge of the members of this group and by their willingness to work together in collegial fashion for the well being of the behavioral health community.


Speaking of certification, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), on Friday announced the spring retirement of Dr. Mark Leavitt, the founding chair of the commission. Established initially with federal funding, under Dr. Leavitt’s leadership CCHIT has become a successful not-for-profit organization whose sole purpose is to certify electronic health records (EHR). At the moment, CCHIT is the only certifying body recognized by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


And more news about certification…..on Monday, November 16, 2009, CCHIT released the draft requirements for certification of behavioral health software products. This draft is available for public comment until December 11, 2009. If you have curiosity about or input you would like to offer about the certification of behavioral health electronic health record products, now is the time to voice them.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has again extended the enforcement deadline for the Red Flag rules. At the request of Congress, this has been pushed off until June 1, 2010. The National Council (NCCBH) reported in its Public Policy Update on November 5, that Congress is considering a new bill that would exempt small health care practices from the rules. The FTC had earlier ruled that the rules apply because of the billing practices of many health organizations. Congress is considering exempting practices with 20 or fewer employees. Stay tuned. There is undoubtedly more to come…


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0 thoughts on “News from the Front: SATVA, BH-EHR, FTC

  • Thanks Kathy for the update. Our local IPA (Independent Physician Association) held a class a few months ago addressing the coming EHR issues. In our region this organization holds the Medicaid contract with the State, so they pay our claims as well as all of the local physician offices. I am assuming that SOS will be going for national certification?

    • Thanks for your comment, Pam. Our current generation of SOS products will not qualify for national certification. We are in the process of a total re-write. We will include necessary features in our software, but we are not sure about going for certification. The current cost is outrageous for a small company like ours and the number of our customers who might benefit from certification is very small. Under current law, only psychiatrists qualify as physicians for Medicare or Medicaid incentives. No other behavioral health or chemical dependency organizations qualify, nor do other behavioral health or addiction providers. And it looks like CCHIT Behavioral Health certification would still not make a product qualify for incentives and our product will never be a general medical EHR. These issues are going to make for a challenging situation for mental health, addictions, and other specialty providers.

  • Vince,
    There is so much happening so rapidly that we cannot keep up with it! We do our best to keep up with the info and to let you know about it. Hopefully, it will let you plan your business strategies in a timely fashion.

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