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ONC has released updates to its program to test and certify EHR systems for the federal incentive-payment program.

ONC releases updates to EHR testing program

By Joseph Conn
Posted: July 3, 2014 - 1:45 pm ET

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released the latest updates to its program to test and certify complete and modular electronic health-record systems for the federal EHR incentive-payment program.

The updates affect the test procedures, data and tools used for 2014 Edition software. The latest posted changes cover automated numerator recording, automated measure calculation and data portability, according to a list posted on the ONC's website.

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In May, the ONC and the CMS relieved some of the pressure on the healthcare industry to upgrade to 2014 Edition software when they issued a proposed rule that would allow hospitals, office-based physicians and other eligible professionals to use 2011 Edition software for one more year, and to continue to meet Stage 1 criteria for meaningful use of the technology.

The rollback came in response to industry complaints that EHR vendors were slow in delivering 2014 Edition tested and certified software.

Providers that received payments under the program for meeting Stage 1 meaningful-use criteria in 2011 and 2012 are scheduled to step up to meet Stage 2 criteria in fiscal year 2014 for hospitals, and calendar year 2014 for physicians and other eligible providers. Failure to meet meaningful-use requirements would mean not only loss of incentive payments, but also Medicare reimbursement penalties.

But the proposed rule would allow providers to receive a time extension if they attest they were unable to meet those targets because of 2014 software availability issues.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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