House Committee Members Urge Colleagues to Implement HIPAA Regulations Without Delay
Delaying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act administrative simplification compliance deadline would cause Medicare, Medicaid and private payers to "needlessly continue to pay for the inefficiencies inherent in the current Byzantine [health care] system," according to several members of the House Ways and Means Committee. In a letter to their congressional colleagues this week, Committee Chair Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and Reps. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) wrote that it was "imperative" that implementation efforts move forward despite arguments that hospitals are not prepared for administrative simplification. The lawmakers cite a letter released last week by the American Hospital Association and other industry groups, stating that delays would "unfairly penalize hospitals and health systems that have made the significant commitment of financial and staff resources necessary to meet the current October 2002 deadline." The letter concludes that any delay could result in an indefinite deferral of HIPAA implementation, as opponents of the regulations would "inevitably invent more excuses to further" push back future deadlines (House Ways and Means Committee letter, 10/3).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.