Certification Rule Opens Door For Health IT Vendors, But Other Regs Lag
A final regulation for a temporary program to certify organizations to sell health IT systems will be published Thursday in the Federal Register, NextGov reports. "Certification is important because it gives health care providers the confidence that products will function properly, meet meaningful use criteria and improve quality of care, the article states. ONC will keep a record of certified products, which will be on the market this fall. The temporary certification program will continue until December 2011, when a permanent program will begin" (Long, 6/21).
Information Week: "The temporary certification program should give hospitals and eligible professionals enough time to test their EHR systems and apply for incentive payments. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says payments to Medicaid providers for the adoption, implementation, or upgrade of certified EHR technology could begin as early as the fall of 2010" (Lewis, 6/21).
Modern Healthcare: Other deadlines, such as the release date for a crucial regulation defining "meaningful use" of health IT, a requirement for getting federal subsidies, remain less clear. "Instead of offering firm deadlines, federal officials at [a conference last week]-sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society-expressed repeatedly only that they hoped the new rules would be coming soon." One official said, "I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath We're working diligently in trying to get that completed" (Conn, 6/21).
Meanwhile, CMS now offers a new page on its website that details the incentive programs for Health IT, Modern Healthcare reports separately. Here is the page (McKinney, 6/21).