A new trade association offers physician practice management software vendors and other companies selling financial and administrative systems new opportunities to increase their visibility and clout.

Claims clearinghouses and electronic health records vendors have their own associations representing them in the industry and among policymakers, as well as to support joint cooperative initiatives. Practice management issues, however, have largely been missing from the table.

Brad Lund, president of an association management firm, was at a conference and heard practice management vendors complaining that they have no one to represent them. Lund told Tim McMullen, director of the Cooperative Exchange for clearinghouses, and McMullen noted that policymakers have told him that the one major entity not at the table has been practice management. Together, they started the new Healthcare Administrative Technology Association (HATA) with McMullen serving as executive director.

HATA launched with seven initial members: ADP AdvancedMD, e-MDs Inc., Healthpac Computer Systems, MDSynergy, MedInformatix, NextGen Healthcare and PracticeAdmin. McMullen says more than 600 companies sell administrative, financial and other business software to all types of provider organizations across the industry. These vendors can join the association as “principal” members, with annual dues, based on revenue, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.

The association is talking with major players such as McKesson, GE Healthcare, Epic and Cerner, and receiving inquiries from other vendors, McMullen says. The goal is to have 150 members by the end of 2014.  Separate types of membership also are being offered to provider organizations, health insurers and related industry professionals, trade associations and government entities, as well as other vendors serving the principal members. Fee structures have not been finalized.

Early initiatives for HATA include partnering with NACHA-The Electronic Payments Association for an August 27 webinar explaining the EFT/ERA HIPAA operating rules, and possibly a 1.5 day conference Oct. 23-24 in Reston, Va., immediately following the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange’s WEDI-Con 2014 event. More information on HATA is here.

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