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BHIP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 


What is the Behavioral Heath Integration Project – BHIP?

Illinois received $600,000 in federal funding to implement the Behavioral Health Integration Project (BHIP) by the Governor’s Office of Health Information Technology.

The goal of BHIP is to promote the exchange of electronic health information between behavioral health providers and primary medical care providers to improve health care quality for consumers.

Illinois’ BHIP is a joint effort of the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, with active support and participation from dozens of behavioral health and medical care organizations throughout the state.

What activities does BHIP address?

BHIP will work to develop the legal and operational framework necessary to protect consumer confidentiality while helping to facilitate data exchange. The project will engage the behavioral health provider community and convene legal experts, statewide associations and individual consumers to build this framework and test it in several demonstration sites throughout the state. Small grants for two to three of these sites will be made available in late summer or early fall 2012.

Which agency funded BHIP?

The grant is administered by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare on behalf of the Center for Integrated Health Services (CIHS), a joint project of the Service Administration of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (SAMHSA) and Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA). The grant will end in late October 2012.

What are the unique challenges for behavioral health in health information technology?

Illinois law has set a higher confidentiality threshold for behavioral health than many other states. This grant challenges Illinois to balance appropriately, protecting behavioral health data with the strong need for increased coordination of behavioral health care with medical services; ultimately to improve the quality of care for behavioral health clients.

How will BHIP impact Illinois and other States?

This grant will accelerate Illinois’ progress toward using health information exchange to achieve better health care. BHIP will serve as a demonstration project to help establish national best practices in electronic health information exchange in the area of behavioral health.

How does this project relate to health information exchange (HIE)?

Enabling appropriate secure electronic exchange of relevant behavioral health consumer information from a licensed behavioral health provider to the consumer’s primary care provider, such as current medications and medication history, holds great promise for improving the overall health of consumers. This is also a shared goal of health information exchange.

To learn more about health information exchange (HIE) in Illinois visit

Are there currently any secure means for a provider to exchange health information?

ILHIE Direct Secure Messaging Solution enables licensed Illinois providers a way to send consumer health information via the Internet in compliance with HIPAA in a secure and encrypted format to recipients with an ILHIE Direct address (a special email address). All you need is an Internet connection and any standard web browser. It’s simple, fast and offered at no cost through December 2012. For more information or to register for an ILHIE Direct address visit

What grant opportunities exist for Illinois behavioral health providers to take advantage of this project?

BHIP will offer two to three demonstration sites small grants to support shovel-ready projects that will allow each site to: i) exchange consumer information among practitioners of both behavioral health and medical services; and ii) demonstrate the integration of behavioral health and medical services to improve the quality of care and consumer outcomes.

To remain informed of this opportunity, please go to the Illinois BHIP website to sign-up for the project distribution list.

Is BHIP a part of the HITECH Act?

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act seeks to improve American health care delivery and patient care through an unprecedented investment in health information technology.  Under HITECH only select medical practitioners are eligible for incentive funding through Medicaid and Medicare as they adopt certified electronic medical record systems.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act. If enacted, a portion of the 2009, $27 billion in Medicare and Medicaid payments would be extended to behavioral health providers (in addition to medical providers) that have installed the certified technology and used it to improve patient care.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact:

Dia Cirillo, Behavioral Health Project Director
Illinois Office of Health Information Technology
Office of the Governor
100 W. Randolph, Suite 2-201
Chicago, IL 60601
p: 312-814-1600