New Jersey Bill Would Outlaw Health IT Not Certified by CCHIT

TOPIC ALERT:

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit the use of health IT products that are not certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare IT, FierceEMR reports.

Under the bill, anyone caught selling or distributing such a product could be fined up to $5,000 per violation.

The federal stimulus package includes financial incentives for health care providers who use certified electronic health records and eventually penalizes health providers who do not make the transition to certified EHRs. However, the requirement to use certified EHRs affects only Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

The New Jersey bill would affect all health care providers, even those who do not treat a lot of Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries.

Uncertainties

If approved, it is unclear how New Jersey would enforce such a law.  It also is unclear how the bill would affect health IT products, such as practice management software, that CCHIT does not certify.

According to FierceEMR, additional questions would arise if HHS decides to recognize multiple certifying bodies.  

Blogosphere Reaction

The bill has garnered a lot of backlash in the blogosphere, FierceEMR reports.

Al Borges, a Virginia internist and oncologist, reports that the bill's sponsor, Assembly member Herb Conaway (D), is active in the New Jersey chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (Versel, FierceEMR, 6/11).

Although CCHIT receives funding through a three-year, $7.5 million HHS contract, it was founded by HIMSS and currently is run by Mark Leavitt, a former HIMSS executive (iHealthBeat, 5/21).

Blogger John Lynn writes on his "EMR and HIPAA" blog, "All I can say is that I'm glad that I don't live in New Jersey, and for their sake I hope this bill fails miserably" (FierceEMR, 6/11).

Mark Leavitt
CCHIT feels this is an inappropriate use of certification and was not involved in any way with the bill's creation. See the Commission's response at ehrdecisions.com (url below)

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