HHS Extends Life of Temporary EHR Technology Certification Program

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a notice in the Thursday, November 3, 2011, Federal Register that extends the life of the “temporary certification program for health information technology” beyond its expected sunset date of December 31, 2011, to at least summer 2012.  “We believe that the sunset of the temporary certification programs [ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ATCBs)] should be tied to the effective date of the final rule that we intend to issue in summer 2012, which is expected to adopt new and revised standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHR technology in support of the next stage [Stage 2] of meaningful use under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.  We believe aligning the sunset of the temporary certification program with the effective date of this forthcoming final rule would provide certainty to health care providers, EHR technology developers, and other stakeholders, while also ensuring a sufficient number of accredited testing laboratories and [permanent certification program] ONC-ACBs [Authorized Certification Bodies] exist to meet market demand.” ONC will publish a subsequent notice if there are “any changes to our expected sunset date for the temporary certification program.” [20111103]

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