Guest Blog Post: Who is CCHIT?

At EMR and EHR we welcome people to submit guest blog posts on our contact us page. We’re happy to post them with your name and a link to your website or anonymously. This week’s guest blog post comes from a doctor who wishes to remain anonymous but has some real questions about CCHIT’s involvement in the EMR world. Enjoy!

Companies are lobbying the Administration to keep product-testing and standard-setting within the sole jurisdiction of a nonprofit body called the Certification Commission for Healthcare Technology. Founded in 2004 with industry money and grants from nonprofits, CCHIT now receives $7.5 million a year under a contract with the federal government. The other half of CCHIT’s $15 million budget comes from fees paid by companies. Mark Leavitt, chairman of CCHIT, is a former tech vendor. He sold his electronic health records company to GE in 2002 and later became chief medical officer of the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a trade group in Chicago. Seven of the CCHIT’s 19 voting members work for vendors or for-profit tech consulting firms. -– Chad Terhune, BusinessWeek, May 4, 2009, The Dubious Promise of Digital Medicine: Why huge spending on electronic records won’t produce quick improvements in efficiency or care.

$15 million dollars per year! To do what? Where is all the money going? I wonder how much Mark Leavitt makes per year? How much are the voting member paid per year? Boy, would I love this job! And what about the fact that almost half the voting members work for vendors or consulting firms! Is there a conflict of interest?

Does anyone have any additional information on CCHIT? This really makes me curious. Alarms are going off all over the place when I hear the basic information about CCHIT, how much they take in per year ($15 million) and what they actually do (certify a few EMR Systems).

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, 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,, 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.


  • Let’s get our facts straight. CCHIT executed a 3-year, $7.5 million contract (or $2.5 million per year) with HHS to develop certification for ambulatory and inpatient electronic health records and health information exchanges. It is now self-sufficient. None of its work group volunteers nor its boards of Commissioners or Trustees receive any compensation. CCHIT’s staff of about 20 both manages the work of these 250+ volunteers (in 19 work groups) and operates the inspection program. Only 5 of the current slate of 21 Commissioners represent organizations that could submit EHR technology for certification. Check it out yourself at and Or email me at

    Sue Reber, marketing and outreach director, CCHIT

  • The good thing is that CCHIT has basically been marginalized since the HIT Policy Committee has chosen to have HHS create its own EHR requirements and not use the CCHIT requirements. Certainly, CCHIT is still going to try and put up a fight, but at least people won’t depend on it for EHR stimulus money. Hopefully, they’ll also make the connection to why the HIT Policy Committee chose not to use CCHIT.

    The facts are that CCHIT was started by a group of large EHR vendors and large EHR vendor advocate organizations. That imprint still remains today despite what I believe are pretty sincere efforts by Mark Leavitt to try and show otherwise.

    I would be interested to hear more about the questions listed above as far as how much people like Mark Leavitt get paid to do this work. Might help better explain why the cost of certification is so high.

    No doubt I’ll be interested to see the future of CCHIT and how it tries to continue its work.

  • “Founded in 2004 with industry money and grants from nonprofits, CCHIT now receives $7.5 million a year under a contract with the federal government. The other half of CCHIT’s $15 million budget comes from fees paid by companies.”

    This is direct quotation from the BusinessWeek Article dated May 4, 2009.

    The question remains, what does CCHIT do? and why does it cost so much? and how much does Mark Leavitt make?

    $15 million per year is A LOT of MONEY to certify EMRs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I have the printed copy of the BusinessWeek Article and in the PRINT VERSION it says $7.5 million per year from Federal Gov’t and $15 million dollar budget comes from fees paid by companies.

    Has there been a change from the printed magazine to the online verson???? Why?????

  • Robert,
    The page Sue linked to had this editor’s note:

    “Editor’s Note: “The Dubious Promise of Digital Medicine” gave erroneous contract and budget figures for the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. The group has received $2.5 million annually under a three-year contract with the federal government; its annual budget is $5 million.”

    Regardless, it still doesn’t answer the question of compensation, money going to HIMSS and the likes and why the certification can spend so much money without showing that it’s improving EMR adoption and implementations.

  • $ 5 million per year to ceritify EMRs still sounds VERY VERY HIGH!!!! Five Million Dollars per year???? What do they do for Five Million Dollars per year. I bet it is going into someone’s “back pocket”. Where can we have an accounting of the money?

    Can someone explain why it takes so many people and so much money to certify EMRs?

    I think there was another post on this blog which explained how simple and easy it is to certify EMRs. That post made a lot of sense. 5 million dollars sounds like “payola”, not fees!

    And they need volunteers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click here to post a comment