ONC exploring electronic health record certification for long-term care providers
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
by: VNAA Policy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently announced that it may establish a certification program for electronic health records (EHR) used by long-term care (LTC) providers.
Such a program could be a first step toward including LTC providers in government incentive programs that provide funding to adopt the use of EHRs. Currently, only subsection (d) hospitals and critical access hospitals are eligible to receive these incentives upon demonstrating Meaningful Use of certified EHR technologies.

ONC’s announcement coincides with its release of a report collecting public comments on the topic, many of which called for greater incentives to expand EHR use in LTC. VNAA submitted comments to ONC on how to accelerate the interoperability of HIE. Click here to read VNAA’s comments.
The majority of commenters favoring regulation and/or revised conditions of participation thought it most appropriate for SNFs, nursing homes, and home health agencies. In this report ONC includes multiple steps it has taken to accelerate health information exchange including currently developing targeted, open source toolkits, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Entrepreneurs Program.  These toolkits, also known as Health Information Service Provider (HISP)-in-a-box and Admission, Discharge, and Transfer (ADT)-Alerts-in-a-box, can be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed by a wide range of health care entities including those that are not eligible for the EHR Incentive Programs like home health agencies.  

ONC’s outgoing chief Farzad Mostashari stated that the Health IT Policy Committee would “move ahead” by exploring the potential and scope of such a program.
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