According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) "All EHR systems and technology must be certified by the ONC-ATCB to receive Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs".
There is no other relevant certification program today, and any certification organization proclaiming to be 'more stringent' or superior to the federal government's ONC-ATCB certification program is trying to make more money by fooling providers. Remember, you do not need a "more stringent" EMR. You need the most usable EMR you can find that is ONC certified.
Before the government created the Federal ONC-ATCB Certification Program, The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) was created as the certifying body for EHR certification and standards. CCHIT lost its charter to certify EHRs in 2009, as the HHS intervened and issued new and completely different requirements. Today there are numerous certification organizations (including CCHIT) but the only important EHR certification is the ONC-ATCB.
To receive your EHR incentive payments, the only relevant certification is the ONC-ATCB Meaningful Use certification.
Organizations such as CCHIT and others have spawned new certification programs which have, whether intentionally or not, caused confusion in the healthcare market. For instance, CCHIT created a Preliminary ARRA 2011 certification. This was worthless in terms of qualifying for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Certification bodies have also created modular and specialty certifications. These are also worthless for attesting for Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs unless they have the ONC-ATCB certification. Modular or specialty certifications could also be dangerous to your clinic as they may not meet ONC-ATCB requirements, and or may not meet your clinical needs.
To read more on Federal Meaningful Use Certification, please see the links below:
For further reading on this topic, we recommend:
An article by Dr. David Blumenthal, HHS National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine when CCHIT was the only certification option. See the link after the excerpt below:
"ONCHIT currently contracts with a private organization, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, (CCHIT) to certify EHRs as having the basic capabilities the federal government believes they need. But many certified EHRs are neither user-friendly nor designed to meet HITECH’s ambitious goal of improving quality and efficiency in the health care system. Tightening the certification process is a critical early challenge for ONCHIT."