HIMSS echoes calls for HHS to delay updated EHR certification requirements

HIMSS 2017
HIMSS joined calls to delay the deadline for 2015 EHR certification standards.

HIMSS is the latest organization to call on the feds to delay updated EHR certification requirements, adding to a growing list of health IT associations and provider organizations that say vendors are not ready to meet the new certification standards.

In a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, HIMSS President and CEO Stephen Lieber and Chair of the HIMSS North America Board of Directors Michael H. Zaroukian, M.D., urged the agency to delay the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria six months to July 1, 2018.

“As of early April 2017, very few vendor products are certified to the revised 2015 Certification Criteria; this jeopardizes the requirement that health IT must be certified to the 2015 Edition for the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs and the Quality Payment Program (QPP),” the letter stated.

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Pushing the deadline back six months from January 1, 2018, would allow providers and vendors additional time to ensure that EHR products meet the certification requirements, test and implement new systems and train staff, the HIMSS executives added. Although HIMSS typically advocates for an 18-month preparation period between the release of finalized regulations and the start date of a new reporting period, vendors and providers "did not receive all of the finalized test tools that were required for software development until very recently.”

Dozens of organizations have called on the new HHS secretary to extend the EHR certification deadlines, although HIMSS has requested a much shorter timeframe. In February, 16 healthcare groups, including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, asked Price to delay Meaningful Use Stage 3 measure indefinitely, along with the updated EHR certification requirements.   

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A week later, 44 state medical societies and a wide range of specialty provider organizations, including the American Medical Association, requested a one-year delay to 2015 EHR certification.

During confirmation hearings, Price acknowledged the burden physicians face with meaningful use, and said the government’s role should be improving interoperability.