ONC Considering the Development of A Voluntary EHR Certification Program for LTPAC; Home Care
November 26, 2013 04:33 PM
Providers of long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) services are highly anticipating the work of the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) Federal Advisory Committee (FACA) regarding a voluntary electronic health records (EHR) certification program that is meant to coordinate federal and private interest in certified EHR products that promote care coordination and information exchange across the spectrum of care.
This new initiative by The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (IT) is part of a broader effort to encourage the exchange of health information by LTPAC providers with providers participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program under The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
ONC plans to target the voluntary certification program to providers who are not eligible to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. This includes LTPAC providers such as home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities and also behavioral health care providers. ONC’s Certification/Adoption Workgroup is developing the voluntary program.
The workgroup presented an update on its progress during the November 13 meeting of ONC's Health Information Technology Standards Committee (HITSC).
According ONC, the workgroup’s charge is to:
Recommend a process for prioritizing health IT capabilities for voluntary EHR certification that would improve interoperability across a greater number of care settings
Recommendations shall take into account previously adopted ONC certification criteria and standards and identify the key health IT capabilities needed in care settings by providers who are ineligible to receive EHR incentive payments under the HITECH Act
The scope of work for the voluntary certification program includes:
Recommend a process that could be used to identify and prioritize certification criteria for health IT that is used by “ineligible” providers and for which a voluntary ONC certification program would be helpful
Recommend a specific application of this process for EHRs used in LTPAC and behavioral health settings
The Certification/Adoption Workgroup expects to present its preliminary recommendations for the voluntary program to the HIT Policy Committee in Feb. 2014. Final recommendations will go to the HIT Policy Committee and the HIT Standards Committee in March 2014.
The Certification/Adoption Workgroup will be initiating a series of meetings to formulate its recommendations. The first meeting is scheduled on Monday, December 2, 2013.
Please click here for webinar and teleconference information.
NAHC’s affiliated Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) recommends that home care agencies and EHR vendors engage in this important work so that we can advance the adoption of health IT in home care and strengthen the roll of home care in the delivery of care.
Questions remain unanswered that will only be addressed through community input, such as:
Would the voluntary certification program build on stakeholder support for the health improvement need?
Is stakeholder support sufficiently robust to enable long-term adoption of the voluntary certification program?
What additional actions could increase stakeholder support to adopt and use certified technology?
Certification Guidance for EHR Technology Developers Serving Health Care Providers Ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Payments can be found here.
EHR Payment Incentives for Providers Ineligible for Payment Incentives and Other Funding Study can be found here.