NJ Bill to Make Non CCHIT EHR Use Illegal

Posted on June 6, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Graham over at EMRUpdate found a really crazy bill being proposed in New Jersey that would make the use of non CCHIT certified EHR illegal.

Here’s the sections of the bill that seems to capture the crux of what’s being proposed:

“· On or after January 1, 2011, no person or entity is permitted to sell, offer for sale, give, furnish, or otherwise distribute to any person or entity in this State a health information technology product that has not been certified by CCHIT. A person or entity that violates this provision is liable to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 for the first violation, not less than $2,500 for the second violation, and $5,000 for the third and each subsequent violation, to be collected pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

· The bill defines “health information technology product” to mean a system, program, application, or other product that is based upon technology which is used to electronically collect, store, retrieve, and transfer clinical, administrative, and financial health information.”

” 5. (New section) a. The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, in consultation with the Office for e-HIT in the Department of Banking and Insurance and the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, shall require that, on or after a date to be determined by the Office for e-HIT and in accordance with requirements established by that office pursuant to and in furtherance of the purposes of subparagraph (a) of paragraph (1) of subsection b. of section 8 of P.L.2007, c.330 (C.17:1D-1), each health care professional who is licensed or otherwise authorized, pursuant to Title 45 or Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, to practice a health care profession that is regulated by a professional and occupational licensing board within the division or by the director, shall purchase, rent, lease, or otherwise acquire for use in that person’s professional practice only those health information technology products that have been certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.”

I’m really kind of speechless. If you read this blog regularly, you know that’s pretty rare. As Graham points out, why would they want to pre-empt whatever rules ONCHIT puts in place for EHR? I also wonder how they plan on enforcing this act. Plus, what is this senator really thinking? I think that each of these bills should require a full disclosure as to the impacts both good and bad and the reasoning behind even proposing such an idea. Reminds me a lot of the senator who called for an open source EMR, but this is much crazier.

Seriously, what’s the basis for this senator wanting to have it illegal for someone to use any EHR other than a CCHIT certified EHR? I’ve asked many times for some sort of study (independent hopefully) that shows that CCHIT certified EHR have a higher implementation success rate, or improve patient care, or save doctors time or any other benefit over the non CCHIT certified EHR out there. So far no one has produced such a finding. I’d suggest we haven’t found that study since the results of said study would find the opposite.

All I can say is that I’m glad that I don’t live in New Jersey and for their sake I hope this bill fails miserably.