Breaking Down Barriers to Sharing Behavioral Health Information 

Breaking Down Barriers to Sharing Behavioral Health Information


Altarum is improving physical and behavioral health integration through enhancing the ease and efficiency of health information sharing among Michigan health care providers.

Sharing individual health information is an important part of delivering quality health care. In Michigan, federal and state laws require providers to receive consent to share information such as mental health records (for purposes other than treatment, payment, and coordination of care) or information on treatment or referrals for alcohol and substance use disorder. The state has made significant progress in recent years in streamlining and simplifying regulations for sharing behavioral health information, but barriers still exist to achieving compliance among providers to ensure care coordination takes place to achieve better health outcomes for Michigan residents.

Altarum, with funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, is helping the state overcome these barriers through a program that engages a wide variety of providers and payers in regulatory compliance education and technical assistance.

Our Approach

Altarum is working with clinicians, payers, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to increase data-sharing agreements and improve understanding of how information can be shared under federal and state consent and confidentiality laws governing the release and electronic exchange of behavior health information. We’re doing this through the following:

  • Enhancing existing educational materials for providers to support care coordination and effective service delivery 
  • Developing new tools for helping providers and payers to navigate complex laws and regulations
  • Creating and providing online confidentiality and consent training for Michigan payer and provider stakeholders 
  • Facilitating conversations with Michigan providers and payers to identify barriers and opportunities to increase data-sharing agreements

Once providers have gained understanding and confidence and are more frequently sharing information, we expect to see significant improvements in care delivery, including reductions in information gaps, redundant testing, care delays, avoidable admissions, and health care costs overall.

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