Bush Signs Transactions HIPAA Standards Delay Bill
President Bush last week signed a bill that will delay the compliance deadline for HIPAA transactions standards by one year, until Oct. 16, 2003. HR 3323, which was approved by Congress last month, requires health plans and providers that wish to take advantage of the extension to submit plans to HHS by October of this year, indicating how they intend to achieve compliance by the new deadline. Compliance plans must include a budget, schedule, work plan and implementation strategy. The new law states that it is not intended to affect the April 2003 compliance deadline for HIPAA privacy regulations (HIPAAdvisory, 12/29/01).
In other HIPAA news, attorneys for HHS have brought a motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), that seeks to overturn the HIPAA privacy rules. The suit, filed in August, alleges that the privacy regulations violate the First, Fourth and Tenth Amendments, as well as the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In its motion to dismiss, HHS argues that the plaintiffs' claims should not be the subject of legal review because enforcement of the privacy regulations is more than a year away. The 56-page motion states that the agency has already issued "extensive policy guidance" on the application of the privacy regulations and that HHS is likely to issue additional guidance before the April 2003 compliance deadline. HHS is also seeking to dismiss Paul, who is a physician, from the suit, on the grounds that "he alleges no injury to himself and lacks standing" to bring the suit. Paul and the AAPS have until Jan. 11 to respond to the motion (Ruiz, Houston Chronicle, 1/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.