Final Rule Establishes the Permanent Certification Program for EHR Technology

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The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology has finalized the permanent electronic health record (EHR) certification program under which EHR technology will be tested and certified as meeting meaningful use stage 2 certification requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs beginning in 2012.

On January 7, 2011, the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) published the permanent electronic health record (EHR) certification program final rule (Final Rule) establishing the permanent process by which organizations will be selected to test and certify that EHR technology is Certified EHR Technology.1 Certified EHR Technology is EHR technology that meets the ONC’s technological capability, functionality and security requirements (EHR Certification Requirements)2 for supporting the achievement of meaningful use3 by eligible hospitals and professionals (collectively, Eligible Providers) under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. The Final Rule also establishes parameters under which approved testing and certifying bodies determine that EHR technology meets the EHR Certification Requirements. The Final Rule was effective on February 7, 2011.4

The permanent certification program replaces the current temporary EHR certification program beginning on January 1, 2012, unless the ONC determines that the permanent certification program is not fully constituted at that time and delays implementation.5 Testing and certification bodies accredited under the permanent certification program will certify that EHR technology meets the EHR Certification Requirements under development for meaningful use stage 2. Both the temporary and the permanent certification programs are of keen interest both to EHR technology vendors that must obtain certification of their technology to serve the Eligible Provider market and to Eligible Providers that need Certified EHR Technology in order to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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