"This is a crucial step because it ensures that certified EHR products will be available to support the achievement of the required meaningful-use objectives, that these products will be aligned with one another on key standards and that doctors and hospitals can invest with confidence in these certified systems," David Blumenthal, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, said in a news release Monday.
Under the stimulus law, providers must use certified EHRs in a meaningful manner to be eligible to receive federal health IT subsidy payments. A draft rule on the processes ONC would require to anoint the testing and certifying organizations wasn't released by ONC until March; the final rule came in June.
Meanwhile, final rules defining meaningful-use criteria weren't released by the CMS until July.
The timing of the announcement is crucial because the first "payment year" for hospitals under the stimulus law's subsidy program begins Oct. 1.
Watch Modern Healthcare reporter Andis Robeznieks' interview with physician Karen Bell, the new chair of CCHIT, here.