House follows Senate lead and passes bill to delay Transactions and Code Sets

On December 5th, the House passed its bill, HR 3323, to delay implementation of the transactions and code sets standards for one full year until October 16, 2003. One week ago, on November 29th, the Senate passed without amendment and by unanimous consent its TCS delay bill, S 1684. Both bills state that nothing in the bills affect the implementation of the HIPAA privacy regulations required by April 14th, 2003.

The House bill was expected to go to conference committee to be reconciled with the very different Senate bill. However, according to Tom Gilligan, Executive Director of the Association For Electronic Health Care Transactions (AFEHCT), although it passed its own bill, S 1684, the Senate is expected to take HR 3323 as passed by the House and pass it by unanimous consent or attach it to some bill that will pass the Senate, thereby avoiding the need for a conference committee. The bill would then require President Bush's signature before the provisions could go into effect.

The modified bill HR 3323 as it passed the House contains the following provisions:

For covered entities, it would delay the compliance date for the transaction standards and code set standards for one full year, until October 16th, 2003 if the covered entity or person submits to the Secretary by October 2002 a "plan" detailing how they will come into compliance by October 16th 2003.

Such a plan would have to include:

  • The extent to which the person is not in compliance; and the reasons why the person is not in compliance.
  • A budget, schedule, workplan, and implementation strategy for achieving compliance.
  • Whether the person plans to use a contractor or a vendor.
  • A testing period that begins no later than April 16th, 2003.

DHHS is charged with drafting a model form for use in drafting a plan for achieving compliance no later than March 31st, 2002.

If the person (covered entity) does not submit such a plan by October 2002, and it is not in compliance with the transaction standards, that person could be, at the discretion of the Secretary, subject to exclusion from Medicare. Provisions of section 1128(a) of the Social Security Act apply.

Click here for the text of the House bill, H.R. 3323

Click here for the text of the Senate bill,  S. 1684