NJ Bill to Make Non CCHIT EHR Use Illegal

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.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Well, why don’t you contact the legislative opposition and volunteer to be an expert witness against the bill. Being glad you don’t live where bad things are happening is not exactly a sentiment that stengthens public discourse.

  • Interesting idea Charles. I’m not sure someone from NJ will care what someone from NV says, but might be worth my time to send them a message. With that said, I think there are few other places on the web that have strengthened public discourse about CCHIT and EMR/EHR than this blog.

    I don’t think I’m proud enough to call myself an expert witness. I certainly have some expertise in the area, but I don’t think it’s my place to call myself an expert or not.

  • Well, I’d say you have created a kind of de Toquevillian role for yourself – neither journalist nor player, but someone who take in the full scope of the phenomenon and in that way, provides a value on offer no where else.

  • The wording in the proposed law is extremely vague. It almost sounds to me that selling a voice recognition dictation system would be illegal, or a medical billing system, or a PACS, or an anything that isn’t a fully-certified EHR, yet might do something along the lines of storing or creating medical information.

    Then again, maybe laws in NJ are just suggestions. After all, I’m quite sure I have seen speed limit signs in NJ, yet the governor there I hear drives 100+ mph!

  • Hopefully the legislators in NJ will turn this bill down. They need to hear more from people like John Lynn.

    Mark Leavitt certainly verbalized what CCHIT is all about.

  • CCHIT cannot become the sole Govt. authorized certification even if certified EMR’s demonstrate better implementation rates, ease of use or time saving benefits.

    The only way a State can make CCHIT certification a law is IF the certified EMRs demonstrate significant improvements toward patient safety, and non-certified EMRs cause significant deterioration to it. For example, if a double-blind study evaluating all EMRs shows that non-certified EMRs caused prescription errors or patient deaths all directly due to a fault in the software, only then can these be made illegal for sale.

    Even then, a non-certified EMR might come out that fulfills the patient safety criteria.

    CCHIT may have some good guidelines but it cannot become the only certification authority. That’s like saying that ONLY KPMG must audit all financial records for all companies, and Financial Auditing services provided by Deloitte will be illegal.

    Seriously, that’s ridiculous! The assemblyman must have been in a very messed up state of mind to sponsor this bill.

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