The Senate health reform bill positioned for a final vote retains language to significantly tighten the HIPAA transaction standards and other administrative simplification provisions.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590 as amended, would mandate use of "operating rules" that payer advocacy organization CAQH has championed to standardize the HIPAA standards. The goal is to make financial and administrative transactions as easy to conduct as an ATM transaction.

The bill also requires adoption of new standardized electronic transactions for electronic funds transfers, claims attachments and first report of injury. Insurers would have to certify to the Department of Health and Human Services that they comply with the operating rules.

Text of H.R. 3590 is available at Search in the Senate version for "administrative simplification" in the index.

--Joseph Goedert

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