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.
Third, our Trustees, Commissioners, and Work Group members all serve in a volunteer capacity. They have full-time careers, volunteer for other organizations, and are members of various professional associations like AAFP, AAP, ACP, AHIMA, AMDIS, AMIA, HIMSS, etc. Beyond those connections—which are inherent in any profession or industry—there is no affiliation of CCHIT with any other organization. All volunteers and staff must disclose their conflicts of interest. In the case of staff and volunteer jurors, no connection to any vendor is allowed.
This controversy nicely depicts how the health IT stakes have changed upon entering the political and legislative arena. We’ve been observing, reflecting, and recognizing we need to make some major changes ourselves. Now we’re ready to share our thoughts and plans for your feedback. Watch for a press release soon, and Town Calls to be set up for next week.