Commission Updates Certification Programs to New HHS Rules

Jan. 21, 2010

CHICAGO – Jan. 19, 2010 – The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) today announced that both of its electronic health record (EHR) technology certification programs will be updated to conform to the Interim Final Rule (IFR) recently released by Health and Human Services (HHS), and that applications will open on the rule’s effective date of Feb. 12, 2010.

The IFR, entitled “Health Information Technology: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology,” was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, along with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) describing the meaningful use objectives and incentive payment schedules for adoption of certified EHRs.

“Our aim is to ensure that hospitals and doctors have enough time to purchase and implement certified EHRs and achieve meaningful use in time to qualify for HHS financial incentives in 2011 and 2012,” said Alisa Ray, the Commission’s executive director. “With eligibility for hospitals opening in October 2010, there is an urgent need for certification programs to be in place.”

Ray said the IFR contained “no big surprises” for CCHIT, allowing the organization to quickly update both their comprehensive and modular certification programs to conform to the rules. She also indicated that the approximately two dozen vendors who had already achieved certification under CCHIT’s latest programs will be offered incremental testing at no fee to close any gaps, and that a gap analysis to assist that effort was being posted at today.  For all other EHR vendors, the updated criteria and scripts will be published soon and applications will be accepted beginning Feb. 12.

The Commission plans a Town Call, a free Web-based teleconference open to all, on Jan. 26, to discuss the changes in its programs and answer questions. Information about the call is available at