Organization and Governance
The Certification Commission is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology (HIT). It is governed by a 7-member volunteer Board of Trustees who provide strategic guidance along with voluntary advisory groups, who provide development expertise for CCHIT programs.
Since its founding in 2004, the Commission has grown and evolved. Throughout, it has maintained a consistent policy of openness in disclosing its governance, funding, policies, and activities. The Commission was first embodied as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) in 2004, with capital contributions and in-kind staff support from a collaboration of three health IT associations: the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (Alliance). In June 2005, a group of health and medical organizations and corporations showed their support for the Commission by providing additional funding for its work. A total of $100,000, in unrestricted funds came from the combined group of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, Hospital Corporation of America, McKesson Information Solutions, Sutter Health, United Health Foundation and WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.; and a separate $219,000 grant came from the California HealthCare Foundation.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracted with the Commission in October 2005 to develop certification programs for electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges. CCHIT was first recognized by HHS as a certifying body in 2006. The Commission successfully met all of the terms, budgets, deliverables and timelines required by the contract and its extension, which concluded in April 2009. With the initiation of the HHS contract, the Commission began developing its own organizational infrastructure as well as transitioning toward self-sustainability through the collection of fees for certification testing.
Effective January 2007, the LLC formed by HIMSS, AHIMA, and NAHIT was dissolved, with all assets transferred to CCHIT, a fully independent, nonprofit organization. The Commission is registered in the state of Illinois as a not-for-profit corporation, and has received IRS-approval of its 501(c)3 status.
In September 2010, CCHIT became an Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Authorized Certification and Testing Body (ONC-ATCB) in the Temporary Certification Program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). That federal law provides incentive payments to eligible providers in the Medicare and Medicaid programs for EHR adoption. In the summer of 2012, CCHIT was accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and authorized by ONC as a certification body (ONC-ACB) for the Permanent Certification Program, known as the ONC HIT Certification Program. In addition, CCHIT was accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as an Accredited Testing Laboratory (ATL) to test EHR technology in the federal program. In January 2013, those accreditations and ONC authorization were extended to include both ONC 2011 and 2014 Edition testing and certification.