Certification and EHR Incentives
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs provide incentive payments to Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) as they adopt certified EHRs and successfully achieve Meaningful Use (MU).
For information on how to register for the CMS EHR Incentive Programs, as well as information on the attestation process and payments, visit the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website.
The Role of ONC and CMS in the EHR Incentive Programs
The ONC Certification Program oversees the certification process for EHR products. ONC oversees the Certification Bodies and Testing Laboratories which certify and test EHR products, as well as the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL), the authoritative, comprehensive listing of certified Complete EHRs and EHR Module(s).
CMS EHR Certification Identification Number: A number generated by the CHPL used for reporting to CMS for Meaningful Use attestation, used to represent a product or combination of products in the CHPL.
Standards & Certification Criteria
The standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria adopted by the Secretary establish the minimum requirements that CEHRT must include to support the achievement of MU Stage 1 or Stage 2 by EPs and EHs under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. To access the Standards & Certification Criteria Final Rules, please visit our Helpful Links.
In the ONC HIT Certification Program, certification and testing activities are performed by separate entities. Testing is performed by Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs). If the product meets the requirements, certification is conducted by ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs).
To become an ONC-ACB, certification bodies apply for accreditation by the ONC-Approved Accreditor (ONC-AA), ANSI, and then seek authorization from ONC. To become an ATL, testing laboratories will apply for accreditation by NVLAP.
In the TCP, ONC managed the ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCBs) and the CHPL.. The TCP sunset occurred on October 4, 2012 and was replaced by the ONC HIT Certification Program.
Certification vs. Meaningful Use
Certification ensures that the EHR technology providers choose to adopt offers the necessary capabilities, functionalities, and security to help them achieve MU. Solely adopting certified EHR does not qualify an EP or EH to receive incentive payments. EPs and EHs must "Meaningfully Use" the certified EHR and successfully attest to demonstrating MU to qualify for incentive payments through the EHR Incentive Programs administered by CMS.
An Overview of Certification vs. Meaningful Use
MU sets specific objectives that EPs and EHs must meet to qualify for CMS EHR incentive payments.
Meaningful Use Attestation
Meaningful Use is sponsored by CMS; however, certain MU attestation requirements require actions with the ONC Certification Program. An EP or EH selects a Complete EHR or a combination of EHR Module(s) to create a complete certified EHR on the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) and therefore does not need external disclaimer icon] to generate a CMS EHR Certification ID to be used for Meaningful Use attestation.