ONC Issues Certification Programs Rules

The ONC released its expected NPRM for the Establishment of Certification Programs for Health Information Technology on March 3rd this week during the biggest HIT conference of the year at HIMSS in Atlanta. Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals qualifying for incentive payments under the CMS Incentive Programs must meaningfully use certified EHR Technology. The NPRM proposes the establishment of certification programs for purposes of testing and certifying health information technology.

The rules propose:

  1. A temporary certification program to assure the availability of Certified EHR Technology prior to the date on which health care providers seeking the incentive payments would begin to report demonstrable meaningful use of Certified EHR Technology.
  2. A permanent certification program to replace the temporary certification program. The temporary program would end once the permanent certification program is established and at least one certification body has been authorized by the National Coordinator.

ONC has consulted with NIST on all aspects of developing the proposed certification programs, and will continue to consult and collaborate with NIST during the implementation and operational phases of both temporary and certification programs.  NIST is developing a test method and infrastructure that will be used by testing laboratories in the testing component of both certification programs.

Certification of EHR Technology will provide assurance to users of health IT that an EHR system offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to meet meaningful use criteria.

The public comment period for the temporary certification program will be open for 30 days after publication. The public comment period for the permanent certification program will be open for 60 days after publication.

Subscribers can find updated information on this rule in the Proposed Rules Library.