Senate Approves One-Year Delay to HIPAA Transactions and Code Sets Deadline
The Senate last week unanimously approved a bill (S 1684) that would postpone the compliance deadline for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act transactions and code sets standards by one year, to October 2003. The House last week was still working on similar legislation (HR 3323), and House and Senate staff members were expected to meet last week to discuss possible ways to reconcile the "very different" versions of the legislation. Tom Gilligan, executive director of the Association for Electronic Health Care Transactions, said that the Senate bill will not affect compliance for HIPAA privacy regulations. Gilligan said that lawmakers supporting a delay hoped to pass the measure by the end of the current legislative session, and possibly as early as this week (HIPAAdvisory.com, 11/28). Several groups, including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Federation of American Hospitals, are opposing a delay. In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and federal lawmakers in September, the groups said that a delay would "unfairly penalize" hospitals and health systems that have worked to achieve compliance by the original deadline (AHA News Now, 11/29).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.