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FY 2013 Grant Request for Applications (RFA)

Enhancing Opioid Treatment Program Patient Continuity of Care through Data Interoperability
(Short Title: OTP-CoC)


Request for Applications (RFA) No.: TI-13-010
Posting on February 12, 2013
Original Receipt date: April 3, 2013

Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 93.243

Key Dates

Application Deadline Applications are due by April 3, 2013
Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372) Applicants must comply with E.O. 12372 if their State(s) participates. Review process recommendations from the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) are due no later than 60 days after application deadline.
Public Health System Impact Statement (PHSIS) / Single State Agency Coordination Applicants must send the PHSIS to appropriate State and local health agencies by application deadline. Comments from Single State Agency are due no later than 60 days after application deadline.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2013 Enhancing Opioid Treatment Program Patient Continuity of Care through Data Interoperability (OTP-CoC) grants. The purpose of this program is to provide resources to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) that will enable them to develop electronic health record systems that fulfill regulatory requirements, achieve certified status, and become interoperable with other patient health record systems. By enhancing OTP EHR systems in this manner and achieving levels of integration, it is expected that OTPs will improve behavioral health outcomes.

In addition, SAMHSA's Strategic Initiative on Health Information Technology is focused on ensuring the behavioral health system, including states, community providers, and peer and prevention specialists, fully participates with the general healthcare delivery system in the adoption of health information technology (HIT) and interoperable electronic health records (EHRs).

SAMHSA has been working to develop Health Level 7 (HL-7) standards for behavioral health information to be included in a standard continuity of care document. All grantees will be expected to provide feedback to SAMHSA on the standard data elements that are needed to be shared across OTPs to support high level clinical care.

The behavioral health treatment field, like all health care providers, is enhancing patient health record systems to incorporate interoperable EHRs. Over 1,260 OTPs provide medication assisted treatment for substance abuse disorders (opioid dependence and addiction) with methadone and buprenorphine to hundreds of thousands of patients every year.

As behavioral health service providers, OTPs face specific and unique challenges in recordkeeping systems. OTPs must conform to federal confidentiality rules, which significantly restrict the distribution of patient health information. In addition, OTPs are subject to specific recordkeeping requirements set forth by federal (SAMHSA/CSAT, Drug Enforcement Administration), state, and local licensing agencies, and accreditation organizations. OTPs face special needs to continue care to patients displaced by disasters. Accordingly, OTPs, as a subset of behavioral healthcare providers, require substantial and specific assistance to migrate to interoperable EHR systems.

Informal assessments suggest that OTPs have been slow to develop and adopt integrated EHR systems. There are few multi-state and multi-provider EHR software systems. Many OTPs use EHR systems that were developed and customized to provide electronic medical systems for just one OTP. Moreover, the majority of programs are patient self-pay and have not historically accessed either private insurance benefits or Medicaid benefits for patient care coverage. As such, only a few OTPs have explored or taken steps to achieve "meaningful use" incentives under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. OTPs, as a subset of behavioral healthcare providers, require substantial assistance to migrate to interoperable EHR systems. For example, under SAMHSA regulations (42 CFR § 8.12), OTPs must assure that their record systems, including electronic health record systems for information sharing, are in compliance with the federal confidentiality regulations. The history of localized disasters also indicates a need to improve the capacity for OTP health record systems to respond to instances when programs are closed for extended periods of time, and patients need to relocate.

OTP-CoC grants are authorized under Section 509 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Substance Abuse Topic Area HP 2020-SA.


Eligible applicants are domestic public and private non-profit OTPs. There are approximately 1,260 SAMHSA-certified OTPs, 47 percent of which are non-profit providers (National Survey on Substance Abuse Treatment Services, 2010). This results in an estimated 593 programs that are eligible to apply.

The statutory authority for this program prohibits grants to for-profit agencies, and SAMHSA is further limiting competition to certified OTPs. The object of this grant program is to expand interoperable EHRs to a very specific behavioral health care provider – OTPs. There is considerable variation in the way that OTPs develop their record systems to fit the needs of their programs – OTPs know exactly what is needed in their EHR systems. Some OTPs acquire EHR systems from large vendors and tailor them to their needs. Other OTPs have developed and built their EHR systems "from the ground up" so that they are entirely specialized to that one program. SAMHSA is restricting eligibility to OTPs because they are uniquely qualified to assess and treat opioid dependent patients and develop electronic health record systems that fulfill patient needs, address regulatory audit and other requirements, and improve behavioral health outcomes. As such, OTPs are uniquely qualified to maximize the resources provided under this grant.

Cost sharing/match are not required in this program.

Award Information

Funding Mechanism: Grants
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $1 million
Anticipated Number of Awards: Up to 20 awards
Anticipated Award Amount: Up to $50,000
Cost Sharing/Match Required? No
Length of Project Period: One year

Proposed budgets cannot exceed $50,000 in total costs (direct and indirect). Funding estimates for this announcement are based on an annualized Continuing Resolution and do not reflect the final FY 2013 appropriation. Applicants should be aware that funding amounts are subject to the availability of funds.

These awards will be made as grants.

Contact Information

For questions about program issues contact

Nichole Smith
Division of Pharmacologic Therapies
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road
Room 7-1024
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(240) 276-2719

For questions on management and budget issues contact:

Eileen Bermudez
Office of Financial Resources, Division of Grants Management
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road
Room 7-1091
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(240) 276-1412

Documents Needed to Complete a Grant Application





Additional Materials

For further information on the forms and the application process, see Useful Information for Applicants.

Additional materials available on this website include:

Last updated: 02/12/2013