Addison Health Systems, Inc. (AHS), considered a pioneer (since 1996) of Electronic Health Records with its WritePad™ EHR product line, has applied on September 1st for October 2010 EHR certification with the Austin-based Drummond Group, Inc. AHS has been very successful by offering unique capabilities for computerizing doctor specialties in pain management, alternative, sports medicine, behavioral psych, occupational and pain/rehab care.
The U.S. government announced in February of 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA act included $19 billion under the portion of its HITECH Act to promote the adoption of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in healthcare. Starting in 2011, medical providers can receive up to $44,000 or more by demonstrating what has termed as “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology to be eligible for government funds.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), has awarded certification accreditation to two organizations: The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and Drummond Group, Inc. Drummond Group announced it would be taking applications immediately while CCHIT will start taking applications on September 20, 2010.
“It has been a long process of waiting for the ONC to determine what organizations would be put in charge of EHR accreditation. Thus AHS made the decision to move forward immediately with Drummond Group, Inc. on the 1st allowable sign up date so our thousands of clients could be eligible for up $44,000 stimulus money,” said Greg Winterkamp, CEO/President of AHS. “In fact with our ePrescribing partner, WritePad will accomplish ARRA certification from both Drummond and CCHIT!”
Drummond Group brings years of government software certification experience to the table. The company had been involved with the ONC throughout its evaluation of certification organizations. CCHIT was originally appointed by the government in 2005 as the sole certification organization and had certified EHRs under the CCHIT-created guidelines. However, with the ARRA legislation, the federal government (ONC) was provided the authority to refine and add additional criteria that now make up the new meaningful use guidelines.
“I think it is crucial that an additional certifying organization was added. Competition brings down certifying costs and adds additional controls to define practical capability providers need for using an EHR. The term ‘meaningful use’ is a product of this.” Mr. Winterkamp added, “I was very skeptical when the government got involved in the definition of the certification guidelines however, I have been impressed that so much has been done in a short period of time. The Stage 1 guidelines that the ONC has defined for 2011 certification are helpful to allow many providers to incorporate EHRs in an efficient manner.”
Scott Giddiens, Director of Sales at AHS, stated, “We are proud that WritePad will be one of the first EHRs to be certified in the U.S.! That is very important for our clients and the many prospective doctors that have been sitting on the fence waiting, to get the assurance that our EHR will be government certified.”