Monday, March 8, 2010

NPRM on Certification Programs

The Office of the Nation Coordinator has published a corrected version of the NPRM on Certification Programs. The corrected version has been put into bureaucratic language and had typos, etc. fixed. It is substantially the same document as the draft version previously posted. After the proposed rule is published the comment period will begin.

Certification of Health IT will provide assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system, or other relevant technology, offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria established for a given phase. Providers and patients must also be confident that the electronic health IT products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentially, and can work with other systems to share information. Confidence in health IT systems is an important part of advancing health IT system adoption and allowing for the realization of the benefits of improved patient care.

Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals who seek to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are required by statute to use Certified EHR Technology. Once certified, Complete EHRs and EHR Modules would be able to be used by eligible professionals and eligible hospitals, or be combined, to meet the statutory requirement for Certified EHR Technology.

To this end, an NPRM proposing the establishment of certification programs for purposes of testing and certifying health information technology was issued in March 2010 with a request for comments. The NPRM proposes:

A temporary certification program to assure the availability of Certified EHR Technology prior to the date on which health care providers seeking the incentive payments would begin to report demonstrable meaningful use of Certified EHR Technology.

A permanent certification program to replace the temporary certification program.

The corrected proposed rule to be published in the Federal Register March 10, 2010 is here: