Government Explores Certification for Long-Term Care EHR Systems

The government is exploring ways to make choosing an electronic health record system more reliable for long-term care providers by developing voluntary certification criteria.

The criteria focus on interoperability, privacy and security, and modularity aimed at improving providers’ access to necessary EHR functionality, said Larry Wolf, Co-Chair of the Certification and Adoption Workgroup for the Health IT Policy Committee in a blog post on HealthIT Buzz.

“The Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC) has been asked by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to explore the health information technology (health IT) needs of the long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) and behavioral health (BH) settings,” Wolf wrote. “In most cases, providers in these settings are not eligible to receive funding from the Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive (Meaningful Use) Programs.”


EHR adoption across home health and long-term care providers in the past several years has been plagued by different systems that couldn’t exchange information or communicate with each other. 

In 2007, 43% of home health agencies and hospices adopted uncertified EHRs, Wolf said. Three years previously, 43% of nursing homes reported adopting EHRs, and systems “varied wildly and were generally not interoperable.” In the behavioral health category, community mental health centers had an EHR adoption rate of 21%.

“Though these settings have different needs, there are many characteristics that are shared by LTPAC and BH providers,” said Wolf. “For both settings, stakeholders have shared their frustration regarding the lack of reliable, interoperable systems.”


The Certification and Adoption Workgroup of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee is seeking public comment on the proposed certification criteria for long-term and post-acute care and behavioral health settings that are under consideration. 

Comment submissions are due by the end of the day on May 22, 2014.

Access the public comment template, view the EHR certification criteria, or read more at the Buzz blog

Written by Alyssa Gerace