The much-anticipated NPRM on Certification was released today, revealing a two-phase plan that looks to satisfy the letter of the law in time to pay out stimulus cash. The first proposed program creates a temporary certification process under which David Blumenthal, M.D., “would authorize organizations to assume many of the responsibilities that will eventually be fulfilled under the permanent certification program.” For the permanent certification program, the rule proposes transitioning much of the responsibility for testing and certification to organizations in the private sector.
The NPRM proposes:
- As required by statute, ONC has consulted with NIST on all aspects of developing the proposed certification programs, and will continue to consult and collaborate with NIST during the implementation and operational phases of both temporary and certification programs. NIST is developing a test method and infrastructure that will be used by testing laboratories in the testing component of both certification programs.
- An initial set of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for Complete EHRs and EHR Modules was also published in a related Interim Final Rule.
- The first proposal within the NPRM would establish a temporary certification program whereby the National Coordinator would authorize organizations to test and certify Complete EHRs and/or EHR Modules.
- The second proposal within the Certification Programs NPRM would establish a permanent certification program to replace the temporary certification program. The permanent certification program would separate the responsibilities for performing testing and certification, introduce accreditation requirements, establish requirements for certification bodies authorized by the National Coordinator related to the surveillance of Certified EHR Technology, and would include the potential for certification bodies authorized by the National Coordinator “to certify other types of health” besides Complete EHRs and EHR Modules.
- The public comment period for the temporary certification program will be open for 30 days after publication. The public comment period for the permanent certification program will be open for 60 days after publication.