The 21st Century Cures Act: What Behavioral Healthcare Providers Need to Know

The 21st Century Cures Act was enacted in 2016 to help take healthcare IT to the next level of interoperability and data sharing. The resulting proposed rules from CMS and ONC are tied closely with technology frameworks that have been in the works for decades. These final rules mark the most extensive healthcare data sharing policies the federal government has implemented, requiring both public and private entities to share health information between patients and other parties, while keeping that information private and secure.

Giving patients true access to their healthcare data to make informed healthcare decisions and better manage their care is one of the major hallmarks of the Cures Act. Putting patients in charge of their health records is a key piece of giving them more control in their own healthcare. In order to be compliant, you’ll want to make sure your agency is ready for these changes.


It is critically important that you become familiar with the Cures Act and the proposed rules from ONC and CMS. Check the SAMHSA website for laws and regulations specific to substance use and mental health. Ask your EHR vendors what they know about/what they’re doing about the Cures Act and proposed rules from ONC and CMS. You’ll also need to evaluate your add-on third-party technology vendors for their compliance with HIPAA.

For help with your agency planning, download our FREE 21st Century Cures Act Behavioral Health Checklist. It walks you through the steps you need to take between now and April 5, 2021–the applicability date when this regulation applies to all stakeholders–including clients, clinicians and Health IT vendors.

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