The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, not-for-profit electronic health-record tester, and group purchaser Premier have joined a wave of organizations and individuals filing official public comments on two federal rules governing the meaningful use and certification of EHRs.
Both rules, officially published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, pertain to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus law, which provides billions of dollars in federal subsidy payments to hospitals and office-based physicians for the purchase of EHR systems.
The 60-day public comment period on both rules closes March 15.
In Premier's 42 pages of comments directed to the CMS, which created the meaningful-use rule, the GPO said its “overarching concern" was that the rule "establishes a number of requirements and restrictions that are diametrically opposed to accomplishing the HITECH Act's goal of implementing a nationwide HIT infrastructure in a timely manner.” The HITECH act refers to the health IT provisions of the stimulus law.
The CMS has received more than 1,000 comments thus far and expects more are on the way, according to CMS spokesman Joseph Kuchler.
CCHIT, in its response to HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which produced the certification rule, called the it “an admirable first draft effort” that nevertheless needs “improvement and refinement to drive an achievable step forward in the meaningful use of EHRs, and to avoid an unintended deceleration in the pace of EHR adoption.”
A count on the number of comments received by the ONC was unavailable at deadline.
CCHIT also plans to host a free Web-based conference open to all to discuss its comments and its plans to continue to test and certify healthcare IT systems. The Web conference is set for March 18 at 3 p.m. CT.