There have been two posts on EMR Daily News discussing Weno Healthcare’s bid to become a temporarily authorized certification and testing body, or an ONC-ATCB. The first post discussed their initial application while the second provided an update on their process as well as a status on their re-application.
Weno Healthcare has just issued a press release charging the ONC with misconduct in the ATCB application process and asking that Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS investigate. The press release, in it’s entirely is below.
Austin, TX (PRWEB) January 19, 2011
In a letter from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Tina Goodman was informed that Weno Healthcare’s ONC ATCB application was denied and they had no recourse to further appeal. Tina Goodman immediately asked Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, to investigate misconduct in the ONC’s ATCB application review process. Goodman believes if the matter is properly investigated by an objective party, they will find strong evidence to support a Weno ATCB approval, an unethical review process and possibly uncover a lot more irregularities in the ONC.
Tina Goodman, CEO of Weno Healthcare states, “In his letter to us, Dr. David Blumenthal blatantly failed to acknowledge Weno’s evidence of conformance which indicates his involvement in the alleged misconduct. HHS has the opportunity to correct the issue and restore confidence. So far, Weno’s concerns have fallen on deaf ears at the ONC level.
For many years the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology); a division of the United States Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, has strangely favored and promoted only one organization, CCHIT, to test and certify EHR (electronic health record) software. This allowed CCHIT to charge high prices for their coveted seal. As time went on, HHS/CMS/ONC announced hefty financial incentives for eligible providers and hospitals that used “certified” EHR software in a meaningful way. This created a pressurized scenario in which EHR vendors had to submit to product testing and certification if they hoped to effectively market their products.
Many complaints were voiced to the ONC regarding the lack of competition for testing and certification. The ONC responded by announcing last May 2010 that ANY organization could become an ATCB (Authorized Testing and Certification Body) if their application met certain requirements and all international testing and certification standards, i.e, ISO Guide 65 and ISO 17025.
It was no surprise that the ONC approved CCHIT as one of the first ATCBs. Five more ATCBs followed but the prices for testing and certification did not drop much at all; they are all published around the $20,000 range. Weno published their prices at $16,000. Weno, while pending a decision from the ONC, had a great deal of positive press and blogs anticipating their approval primarily due to these lower prices.
The ONC also approved Surescripts as an ATCB. Tina Goodman states, “Surescripts/RxHub was another organization with onesided favor of HHS. They are the current e prescribing switch monopoly (all e prescription roads go to Surescripts/RxHub). This monopoly was formed after a government e prescribing pilot a few years ago. This pilot resulted in a HHS financial incentive to providers for e prescribing and penalties posted if they did not participate later. Can you guess which organization HHS/CMS would not allow in the pilot three years ago, even though they had an e prescribing solution? It was Weno Healthcare Inc. Now Surescripts has been approved as an ATCB and Weno denied by the same agency three years later. Coincidence? I don’t think so.”
The ONC claims the Weno ATCB application was denied because their staff resumes did not provide HIT/HER experience. In fact, 100% of Weno resumes had their HIT/EHR experience highlighted in red.
In addition, Tina Goodman presented facts in her appeal to Dr. David Blumenthal demonstrating how the ONC unethically added their own words to certain international standards in their deficiency response to Weno and how Weno clearly showed compliance to these international standards.
Goodman believes that Weno’s application threatened some who had political influence thus it was ordered to be denied. HHS cannot deny a history of singularly promoting the businesses of CCHIT and Surescripts/RxHub. This is a well known fact in EHR circles.
Weno challenged Kathleen Sebelius to investigate these allegations and compare already approved ATCB’s applications with Weno’s application. Weno expects a response from Kathleen Sebelius; although the appeal to her has not been acknowledged as of today.
Meanwhile, Weno announces they will continue to offer all EHR vendors low cost training on all HHS certification criteria, including practice testing to prepare for any ATCB. Weno will also offer all EHRs their own seal that will evaluate products in a fully comprehensive and objective “apples to apples” light, including time studies for common tasks. They hope to reduce market confusion with this new service. All EHRs with the Weno seal will be guaranteed health information exchange interoperability within their free provider e community. For more information call or email Tina Goodman. Her contact information is posted at http://www.wenohealthcare.com