Thursday, June 11, 2009

Public CCHIT response to NJ "CCHIT or else" Health IT Bill

In my June 7 post Open letter to Mark Leavitt, Chairman, Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology on Penalties For Use of Non-"Certified" HIT I asked CCHIT's chair pointed questions about a remarkable NJ Bill to make non-CCHIT-certified health IT forbidden for sale or use, with civil penalties, in the state of NJ. His response is posted in the link.

I've just become aware of a June 8 public response to the Bill at CCHIT's site "EHR Decisions" entitled Legislating Health IT: Beware of Land Mines:

... A number of people contacted me this weekend about a bill on the floor of the New Jersey legislature which proposes to make the purchase of non-CCHIT Certified products illegal. I want to make a few facts clear, then share some news about our plans going forward in the new environment created by ARRA.

First, I do not believe this is an appropriate use of health IT certification. Our goal, stated in almost every presentation I’ve given, and to which I’ve adhered in my leadership of the Commission, has always been to unlock positive incentives for health IT adoption. Bridges to Excellence provides a role model for integrating health IT into outcome-based, pay for performance incentives. Successfully executed, ARRA might too. But the New Jersey bill is nowhere near that. Making software purchases illegal, like dangerous substances? Let’s “just say no” to that idea.

Second, neither I personally, nor CCHIT as an organization, have lobbied, advocated, sponsored, or had anything to do with that bill. We were unaware of it until it started showing up on listserves Friday. The bill has never been mentioned in any of our Trustee, Commission, or staff meetings ...

A fine answer. Read the whole thing.

I was probably one of the first to call this NJ Bill to his attention, under the assumption the leader of CCHIT would know about a bill calling for CCHIT exclusivity and "or else" civil penalties in a major state. (CCHIT's founder HIMSS certainly has been cheerleading for all health IT that receives ARRA support to be CCHIT certified. Is it reasonable to assume CCHIT's leader had knowledge of that?)

Instead of thanks for my calling the NJ Bill to Mark Leavitt's attention, potentially saving him from far worse troubles over it than my questions (I am, after all, a political nobody!), I got ... well, embellishments ... decide for yourself at the "Open Letter" link above.

You're welcome, Mark.

Hope you're equally as charitable to the NJ Assembly members who actually made this trouble for you.

p.s. the exact wording of a question I asked him on Jun. 7:

"Did you, or anyone in a governance or leadership position at CCHIT, play a role in sponsorhip of this bill, through financial contributions, lobbying, advocacy for its proposals, and/or other means to prohibit sale of non-CCHIT certified HIT?"

His June 8 post says

Second, neither I personally, nor CCHIT as an organization, have lobbied, advocated, sponsored, or had anything to do with that bill

It even looks like I gave him the language for the public response. Again, Mark, you're welcome.

And your apology for the embellished section of your response to my simple questions is accepted.

Oh wait...

Haven't gotten that yet.

-- SS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is denied that CCHIT committed any improprieties. Can the same be said for its sister trade group, HIMSS?

The lawmakers who wrote the NJ bill speak at HIMSS "educational" conferences, and according to Al Borges, MD at EMR Update, the relationship is a chummy one.

Are there not leaders shared between CCHIT and HIMSS?