Finally, a government-run website you can trust for HHS/CMS EHR Icentives Program answers

I was pleased to see the following website being launched recently:

http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms

If you’re looking for a “just the facts ma’am” style of answers to your frequent questions about HHS’s EHR Incentives program (the ARRA HITECH stimulus bill) I would recommend starting there now.

For example, here’s what they say about the certification program:

How Certification is related to the EHR Incentive Programs
The EHR Incentive Programs require the use of certified EHR technology, as established by these new set of standards.  Existing EHR technology needs to be certified to meet these new criteria in order to qualify for the incentive payments.

NOTE: Currently, there are no certified EHR products that meet the certification requirements for this program in order to receive an incentive.

Timing of Certified EHR Technology for the EHR Incentive Program
Once released, certification bodies will be established to test and certify EHR technology for the EHR incentive programs. In addition, vendors will definitively know the standards and criteria for certified EHR technology, and they can make adjustments to their products to include the required specifications if their products do not already include them. Upon the “opening” of the certifying bodies, vendors can submit their EHR products to be tested and certified. Hospitals and practices who have developed their own EHR systems can also seek to have their existing systems tested and certified. Complete EHRs may be certified as well as EHR modules that meet at least one of the certification criterions.  Once a product is certified, it will be published on the ONC web site. This is expected to start in fall 2010.

REMEMBER: You do not have to have your certified EHR in place by the launch of the program in order to participate.

Now when a vendor or consultant starts to spout off inaccurate data about certification, point them to the official website and let them know they’re lying if they say they’re certified. I’m seeing many unscrupulous vendors write things like “we’re CCHIT certified so we’re already certified for meaningful use.” HHS has made it very clear that CCHIT certification is not being grandfathered and it has no bearing on HHS certification so customers need to be aware of that.

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