NCQA Responds to ONC USCDI+ Behavioral Health Draft Dataset

June 11, 2024 · Maya Spieske

NCQA’s comment on the pivotal ONC USCDI+ Behavioral Health draft dataset was supportive and offered actionable feedback to improve:

  • Data element completeness and specificity.
  • Ease of data exchange to enhance behavioral healthcare quality and reporting.
  • Data interoperability.

What is the USDCI+ Behavioral Health dataset?

The USCDI+ Behavioral Health dataset supports federal and industry partners, including SAMHSA. It captures the data needs of behavioral health and improves data availability and consistency to support behavioral health transactions, use cases and programs.

The USCDI+ Behavioral Health dataset can improve care delivery by:

  • Enhancing health data availability and consistency.
  • Fostering better care coordination among providers and clinicians.
  • Streamlining reporting for SAMHSA grantees.
  • Strengthening the ability of behavioral health and substance use treatment providers to measure and report on care delivery.

ONC requested public feedback on the importance, ease of collection and potential burden of electronic data sharing.

What does NCQA recommend?

NCQA believes that consistent, coordinated USCDI+ datasets are critical to aligning efforts and ensuring the successful use of these datasets.

To increase data element completeness and specificity as well as promote more integrated care, we offered the following recommendations:

  1. Add seven new data elements to ensure full coverage of essential behavioral health services and outcomes.
  2. Increase the specificity of data elements related to substance abuse and cognitive functioning.
  3. Provide clarification and guidance on how the USCDI+ Behavioral Health dataset will intersect with other ONC regulations to support nationwide exchange and unlock true interoperability.

What happens next?

The dataset will provide a common set of data elements to ensure interoperability of behavioral health data across various use cases, all governed by the same set of standards, policies and guidelines.

Public input is instrumental in finalizing the USCDI+ Behavioral Health draft dataset. Feedback from health quality organizations like NCQA will help strengthen the dataset’s completeness, specificity and usability.

The public comment period for the draft dataset concluded on May 12, and ONC is currently reviewing all the feedback received. We look forward to seeing an updated USCDI+ Behavioral Health dataset published in the coming months.

For more details, read NCQA’s full public comment letter.



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