The Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society’s (HIMSS) EHR Association, a non-profit trade group, has expressed its discontent with a portion of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) 2014 Budget that would implement a user fee for vendors that would get their products certified Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Health IT Certification Program.
The EHR association says, “adding costs to the healthcare system at a time when providers already feel significant effects from several new legislative and regulatory programs, including payment cuts, is not an approach consistent with the government's larger goals of fostering broad health information technology adoption to support healthcare delivery system reform.”
Instead, the association suggests HHS evaluates whether all requirements in the meaningful use program and the associated certification activities are “valuable and consistent” with available federal and industry resources. They say the government should streamline these resources where appropriate. They say this will be important as the depth of Stage 3 of the EHR Meaningful Use Incentive Program is unveiled.
The fee was put in place, according to the budget, because of the increasing workload for the ONC to certify EHR systems. The fee would ensure the government administers the certification program, as well as invest resources to improve its efficiency, according to the proposed budget.