ECHO Partners Successfully Connect with Reliance for Oregon Behavioral Health Information Exchange

Reliance and The Echo Group

MEDFORD, OR — Two Echo Group partners are the first Oregon behavioral healthcare organizations to successfully connect and share electronic health information with Reliance eHealth Collaborative.

Supported by Echo technology and expertise, Addictions Recovery Center and On Track, Inc. began exchanging health information with Reliance eHealth Collaborative in January.

“The collaborative relationships we have with Addictions Recovery Center and On Track, Inc, combined with their ability to work with Reliance eHealth Collaborative, allowed us to contribute to this effort in a relevant and meaningful way. Our experience and expertise position us to best support Oregon behavioral health agencies preparing for this critical transition,” said Matt Caggiano, Echo Group Chief Executive Officer. “The ability to transfer and share health information data through Health Information Exchanges allows for a more person-centered approach and will significantly improve client care.”

The leadership at Addictions Recovery Center realized the potential of the Oregon Advance Interoperability Program and worked with Echo and Reliance as early adopters.

“We were excited to participate because we knew this would help facilitate better coordination of care, reducing human error, and reducing duplication of services. Which we’ve already seen evidence of in some of our programs,” said Addictions Recovery Center Chief Information and Operations Officer Danni Swafford.

Reliance is in the final stages of implementing a consent model which will allow this information to be shared with other providers a patient’s signed release of information.

“Bridging the gap of electronic exchange of information among behavioral health and healthcare providers is critical to successfully coordinating care and improving patient outcomes.” said Reliance eHealth Collaborative Operations Manager Paula Weldon.”

ABOUT THE ECHO GROUP – The Echo Group develops enterprise software applications designed specifically for and used by hundreds of behavioral health organizations nationwide.

Privately held since 1980, The Echo Group is headquartered in Conway, New Hampshire with additional offices in California.

For more information contact:

Chris Williams
Director of Sales, Northwest
O (800) 635-8209 ext. 1945
C (603) 630-1259


Scott D. Taylor
Director of Business Relations
O (800) 635-8209 ext. 1829
C (603) 520-5037

Exchanging Protected Health Information Using Community-based 42 CFR Part 2 Compliant Consent Management

The following frequently asked questions explain more about Reliance’s approach to protecting and sharing behavioral health information.

What is Reliance eHealth Collaborative?

As a community based non-profit (501c3), Reliance provides secure and trusted information sharing among a patient’s care team.  Reliance’s mission is to facilitate patient-centered care through a community-driven and provider-led collaboration that promotes better health and provides value through secure and trusted patient information sharing. Reliance is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, which is comprised of physicians, hospitals, payers, consumers, public health, mental health and community-based organizations. All interested stakeholders are engaged in committees who advise the Board’s decision-making process.

Why Does Reliance Exchange Behavioral Health Data?

Reliance seeks to support the care team in improving coordination for patients receiving behavioral health care; and to bridge the information divide between physical health care and behavioral health care services and providers.  A Medicaid study[1] showed that knowledge of physical and behavioral health co-morbidities, combined with coordinated care management, was shown to lead to improved outcomes resulting from ongoing outpatient physician care, vaccination, primary and preventive tests, diabetes monitoring, and medication management.  The study demonstrated that those with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) had 3.5 times higher rates of emergency room visits, four times the rate of primary care visits, and five times the rate of specialist visits.  This group was more than three times more likely to suffer from diabetes, diseases of the heart, respiratory disorders, stroke and arthritis.  Overall, payments for Medicaid patients with SMI triple that spent on non-SMI patients.

How is Behavioral Health Data Protected and Exchanged?

Reliance has implemented a Consent Management Model, which was developed over two years through a rigorous review of the State and Federal laws protecting mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment; and the input and guidance from the Reliance Behavioral Health Workgroup.  Reliance integrates mental health and SUD treatment information into the Community Health Record based on a Common Consent Model that is compliant with Federal (42 CFR Part 2) regulations as revised in February 2017.  A Release of Information (ROI) is entered into the Reliance Community Health Record consistent with the patient’s wishes to share his/her protected information with one or more provider organizations participating in Reliance.  Based on the terms of the ROI and the user’s authorization to view protected SUD information, they can access the combined physical health and SUD information for the period during which the ROI is valid.  The ROI may be changed and/or revoked at any time based on the patient’s wishes.

Is Behavioral Health Data Available in an Emergency?

Yes, participating hospitals’ emergency department providers can access protected SUD information without patient consent in the case of a “bona fide medical emergency” when consent cannot be obtained. The system requires that an emergency provider attest to the nature of the emergency before he/she is able to access the patient’s protected information.  The Part 2 covered SUD provider/facility is immediately notified that SUD information was accessed, and a report is provided to the treatment facility, so that it can be recorded in the patient’s record at the Part 2 covered SUD facility.

Can Patients Request a Report of Disclosures?

Yes, patients can request a report from Reliance or their behavioral health provider that summarizes the organizations that have accessed their BH data.  Furthermore, providers disclosing or accessing SUD information are notified that Federal confidentiality rules (42 CFR Part 2) prohibit them from making any further disclosure of SUD information unless further disclosure is expressly permitted by the written consent of the person to whom it pertains.

What is the Benefit of Exchanging Behavioral Health Information to My Organization?

As a Part 2 covered SUD treatment facility, you no longer have to manage referrals and requests for patient information via fax and paper.  Exchanging your patient’s information through Reliance means that you have peace of mind.  The exchange of information is automated, meaning no more manual processing and/or printing information from your EHR.  When a patient provides a ROI to share their records, a simple process allows for entering the consent into the HIE, which automatically makes the patient’s information available to other users who have a relationship with the patient and who have authorization to view protected SUD information in Reliance.  Furthermore, no matter the time of day or night, an emergency provider can access important SUD treatment information that may save your patient’s life. Reliance is fully compliant with 42 CFR Part 2, including the necessary auditing and reporting requirements to help your organization stay compliant as well.

Who Participates in Reliance?

Reliance participants include: physicians, dentists, mental health and substance use disorder treatment facilities, home health, physical, occupational and speech therapists, hospitals and health systems, Coordinated Care Organizations, public health departments, correctional health facilities, and more.

Visit our website to learn more about what types of data Reliance provides, who is contributing data to Reliance and who is using Reliance services:

[1] JEN Associates. Beneficiary Risk Management: Prioritizing High Risk SMI Patients for Case Management/Coordination, February 2010

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