EHR Incentives Timeline Adjusted

Stage 2 Requirements, New Certification Program, in Works
EHR Incentives Timeline Adjusted
Final guidelines for Stage 2 of the HITECH Act's electronic health record incentive program will be released in the summer of 2012, and implementation of an expanded, "permanent" program to certify EHR software as qualifying for the program will be delayed.

In an announcement this week, Farzad Mostashari, who heads the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, revealed that the final rule for Stage 2 of the EHR incentive program, spelling out revised standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria, is slated for release next summer. Those details are expected to include enhanced privacy and security requirements.

ONC also announced the postponement of the launch of a "permanent" EHR certification program, which had been slated for Jan. 1, 2012. That program now will be launched, instead, at the same time as the effective date of the Stage 2 guidelines. Until then, the narrower "temporary" EHR software certification effort will continue.

Earlier, ONC selected the American National Standards Institute to accredit EHR certifiers for the permanent program (see: EHR Certifier Accreditation Starts). Mostashari said this week that ANSI needs until next summer to accredit certification bodies and testing labs. So the temporary certification program, now in effect, will be extended until the Stage 2 incentive guidelines kick in. The final rule outlining the permanent certification program was issued last January.

Rules for Stage One of the incentive program, including requirements for meaningful use of EHRs and software certification criteria, are now in effect.

So far, more than 1,200 EHR applications have been certified under the temporary program.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

News Editor, ISMG

Anderson is news editor of Information Security Media Group and was founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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