In what it said is an effort to provide broad provider, industry and government strategic guidance for its new Long Term Care Spectrum (LTCS) certification development, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT; Chicago) has assembled a LTCS Advisory Task Force.

This volunteer task force, comprised of representatives with skilled nursing facility, assisted living, home care, hospice, health IT and public payer experience, will assist CCHIT in assessing the current landscape and advising on the appropriate direction and scope of work for the LTCS Work Group.

Members will deliver their recommendations to the commission and the work group prior to the initiation of development work, scheduled to begin in July for a certification program launch planned for July 2010.

Task force members include co-chairs Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, CCHIT chair, and John Derr, senior vice president and chief technology strategic officer, Golden Living; Christopher Attaya, president/CEO, Partners Home Care/Hospice/Private Care; Thomas Clark, director of clinical affairs, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Foundation; Dan Cobb, CTO, HealthMEDX; Doc DeVore, vice president, product strategy, MDI Achieve; Yael Harris, PhD, senior policy analyst, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Jennie Harvel, senior policy analyst, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services; Mary Haynor, president/CEO, Horizon Home Care and Hospice; Gail Gibson Hunt, president/CEO, National Alliance for Caregiving.

Also, Nathan Lake, RN, director of clinical design, American Health Tech; Sheila Lambowitz, director, division of institutional post-acute care, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Sue Mitchell, project management-ViCURA implementation, OmniCare Great Lakes Region; Michelle Dougherty, director, practice leadership, American Health Information Management Association; Marcia Reissig, RN, Sutter VNA & Hospice; William Russell, MD, regional medical director and vice president, Erickson Retirement Communities; Martha Schram, president, Aegis Therapy; and Larry Wolf, senior consulting application/data architect, Kindred Healthcare.

In other CCHIT news, the organization reported the participants in 09 EHR certification pilot tests. The tests, conducted in February and March, were designed to validate new or revised criteria, test steps, and testing tools against real products and to solicit vendor comment to fine tune the inspection process.

These companies qualified and participated in ambulatory, inpatient or emergency department EHR pilot tests:




NextGen Healthcare Information Systems.

Prognosis Health Information Systems


Bambi Rose, certification program director, hailed the support of the participating vendors. "Each organization spent many volunteer hours preparing and carrying out the testing process, and the valuable feedback we received was used to ensure that the test scripts fairly assess the rigorous requirements of our criteria," se said. "It is participants such as these that help make our process credible."

The final comment period for 09 criteria and test steps will close on April 28. To review and submit comments on these materials, go to participate/public-comment/index.asp.

CCHIT is a private, nonprofit organization that has been recognized by the federal government as an official certification body for health IT, with a mission of accelerating the adoption of what it terms "robust, interoperable health information technology by creating a credible, efficient certification process."

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