The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has authorized five organizations to serve as certifying entities under the permanent certification program for electronic health record systems, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 8/29).
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
ONC initially established a temporary certification program for EHR systems. Under the temporary program, health care providers seeking to meet meaningful use requirements needed to use EHR systems approved by ONC's authorized testing and certification bodies, or ONC-ATCBs.
In January 2011, ONC issued a final rule to establish a permanent certification program for EHR systems and modules. In June 2011, ONC designated the American National Standards Institute as the ONC-approved accreditor, or ONC-AA, to accredit groups aiming to become a health IT certification body (iHealthBeat, 7/19).
Permanent Certification Bodies
The five organizations that were named EHR certification bodies under the permanent program are:
- The Certification Commission for Health IT;
- The Drummond Group;
- ICSA Laboratories;
- InfoGard Laboratories; and
- Orion Register.
In July, ANSI accredited all five organizations as EHR certification bodies and the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program accredited the groups as EHR testing bodies (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 8/29).
Orion Register is the only group that currently does not participate in the temporary EHR certification program (Health Data Management, 8/29).
Permanent EHR Testing, Certification Program
The five organizations can perform EHR testing and certification under the permanent program when it begins Oct. 4. However each organization must keep its testing and certification processes entirely separate, according to an explanation on ONC's website.
Under the temporary EHR certification program, an ONC-ATCB could combine its testing and certification processes (Gale, CMIO, 8/30).