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ONC Issues Temporary EHR Certification Program Final Rule

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  • July 2, 2010
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a final rule June 18 to establish a temporary certification program for electronic health record (EHR) technology. The temporary certification program establishes processes that organizations will need to follow to be authorized by the National Coordinator to test and certify EHR technology.
The rule outlines how organizations can become ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCBs). Authorized by the National Coordinator, ONC-ATCB are required to test and certify that certain types of EHR technology (Complete EHRs and EHR Modules) are compliant with the standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria adopted by the HHS Secretary and meet the definition of “certified EHR technology.”
Meaningful use of certified EHR technology is a core requirement for providers who want to qualify to receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs provisions authorized in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. HITECH was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon issue final regulations to implement the EHR incentive programs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
On March 10, HHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Proposed Establishment of Certification Programs for Health Information Technology. The NPRM proposed the establishment of two certification programs for purposes of testing and certifying EHRs — one temporary and one permanent.  The temporary certification program final rule issued June 18 will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register, reportedly June 24. The final rule for the permanent certification program is expected to be published this fall, HHS says.

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