DHCS Releases Guidelines to LEAs for Electronic Signatures on EHRs

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has implemented new guidelines for electronic signatures in electronic health records (EHRs) when used by LEAs participating in the LEA Billing, SMAA, and TCM programs. In doing so, the Department has confirmed their approval of electronic signatures as equivalent to a manual signature when used on an EHR.

Detailed in Policy and Procedure Letter (PPL) 16-010, the new guidelines will require any software or system that utilize electronic signatures in EHRs to include certain protections against modification. Specifically, administrative safeguards must exist to ensure the signature:

  • Identifies the signing individual by name and title,
  • Is unique to the person using it and under his or her sole control,
  • Is capable of verification, and
  • Assures the document cannot be altered after the signature has been affixed.


The guidelines will become effective on, or after, July 1, 2016.

This new policy is welcome news for LEAs that have been waiting for clear and concise guidelines to define the Department’s approval for electronic signatures in EHRs. If your LEA is currently using Paradigm’s web-based healthcare documentation application, Student Health Network (SHN), you can look forward to receiving a white paper on how SHN complies with these newly defined guidelines soon.