ONC proposes discipline measures to certification process

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) this week released a proposed rule to discipline the organization that provides oversight of the bodies that certify electronic health record (EHR) products--if that accreditor participates in improper conduct or performs its duties poorly.

In January, ONC issued a final rule establishing a permanent certification program for EHR systems and modules, which is scheduled to begin in 2012. The rule calls for ONC to choose one organization--an ONC-Approved Accreditor (ONC-AA)--to accredit groups aiming to become a health IT certification body.

When selected, the ONC-AA will serve in that role for three years and can be re-selected after a competitive process. However, the final rule creating the ONC-AA did not contain contingencies for the agency to "remove or take other corrective action" in case the ONC-AA engaged in "misconduct" or failed to "perform its responsibilities."

Examples of misconduct include "false, fraudulent or abusive activities" that would affect the permanent certification program.

"We believe that a removal process would protect the integrity of the permanent certification program and maintain public confidence in the program," ONC says in the proposed rule published in the May 31 Federal Register. The proposal is open for public comment through Aug. 1.

The proposed rule also discusses the status of ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs)--in the event of the accreditor changes, reports Government Health IT.

For more information:
- see the Federal Register proposed rule (.pdf)
- read the Government Health IT article

Related Content:

ONC Issues Final Rule for Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology