Major player will stop certifying EHR systems, including in long-term care

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The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology will no longer offer certification for electronic health records systems, including those for long-term and post-acute care, the company announced Wednesday.

CCHIT has been the primary organization certifying which health records systems providers can adopt to receive incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Long-term care providers generally are not eligible for these incentive payments, but the government has taken initial steps toward including them, and CCHIT independently developed a certification for EHR systems in long-term care.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has repeatedly extended the deadline by which providers must meet “meaningful use” criteria to qualify for incentive payments. The “slowed” pace and “uncertain” timelines around federal requirements for EHR adoption have made it difficult for CCHIT to do business, the company's executive director, Alisa Ray, implied when announcing the change.

Chicago-based CCHIT now will focus on consulting with healthcare providers to promote the adoption of EHR technology.

“With these changes, we can provide a greater level of support and counsel to providers and vendors, something we could not undertake as a government authorized certification body," said Ray. "At the same time, returning to our independent work, we can convene thought leaders and advisory groups to provide policy and governance recommendations, and guidance to the healthcare community here and internationally."

To support this objective, the company has aligned more closely with the nonprofit Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), announcing that four HIMSS board members will be joining the CCHIT board.

CCHIT recommended that its customers now do business with ICSA Labs, which also is authorized by the ONC to certify electronic health records. 

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