Word from Washington
a provision in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that called
for the development and use of uniform guides and a more
streamlined process for updating HIPAA versions.
HIPAA Developments to Come
The healthcare industry is still awaiting the final HITECH privacy regulations, but it is clear that they will change access
to and disclosure of information, which in turn affects what
information can or cannot be included in the HIPAA transactions.
The original ARRA-HITECH proposed rules suggested
merging the clinical and administrative transactions and using this information in the electronic health record. These
proposals were dropped in the final version of the stage 1
meaningful use requirements, but the industry expects to see
them in the proposed stage 2 requirements, due this month.
The original HIPAA legislation also permitted the Health and
Human Services secretary to add additional transactions,
potentially including clinical transactions to fall under HIPAA.
However, HHS secretaries under the Bush and Obama administrations have heeded the national coordinator for health
IT’s advice not to do so, since upgrades under HIPAA could
NCVHS continues to have oversight of the HIPAA rules and
has recently added transactions affecting payments made
using the HIPAA transactions. (Read more about these transactions in “Simplification at Last?” on page 24.) In addition,
the first guides under the Affordable Care Act have been issued. Expect more this year and in the future.
HIM’s Role in the HIPAA Changes
The fruits of HIPAA are now coming to bear at the same time
that the healthcare industry addresses the rapid pace of EHR
implementation and an ever-increasing need for health information via clinical and administrative data.
In the months to come the industry will hear of considerable
work on an attachment transaction called for in HIPAA and
the Affordable Care Act that will merge even more clinical
and administrative data. While this sounds simple, it will not
be an easy transaction to fashion or use, given the need to
consider such items as the sequestering of data in EHRs,
which calls for developing metadata vocabularies and integrating privacy requirements directly into the data.
Meet the Advocacy and Policy Team
OVER THE COURSE of the last year AHIMA has reorganized to better meet the needs of its members. The changes encompass AHIMA’s advocacy and policy department.
Rita Scichilone, MHSA, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, has taken on
the role of coordinating AHIMA’s global standards efforts
with AHIMA’s team of professional experts and volunteers.
She and her team will also be working to ensure members
are aware of the standards work AHIMA is doing and how
that work affects the profession, as well as providing oversight to AHIMA’s ISO 215 Designated Secretariat Office administered by Lisa Spellman, MBA.
Allison Viola, MBA, RHIA, will continue as AHIMA’s director of federal relations and will have a very busy year
keeping up with the many changes anticipated from ARRA-HITECH, the Affordable Care Act, and other federal agency
Sue Bowman, RHIA, CCS, will also continue in her role
as director of coding policy and compliance, balancing her
time in the arena of ICD- 10 implementation and compliance
and international efforts associated with future versions of
Don Asmonga, MBA, CAE, AHIMA’s director of government relations, will direct most of his attention to AHIMA’s
new advocacy and leadership programs for CSAs, including a series of monthly advocacy and leadership webinars
for state association leaders. He will also work with CSA
leaders on state advocacy and influence projects that extend AHIMA’s policy agenda to the front lines of state government.
Asmonga will work closely with AHIMA’s new congressional relations manager Margarita Valdez, who will move
AHIMA’s agenda forward in the second session of the 112th
This transaction also raises considerable security issues,
and HIM professionals will have to step forward to work
through these issues within their organizations. The Affordable Care Act calls for regulations by 2014 and compliance
HIM professionals have been the point between administrative and clinical data uses. This will continue to be the
case, especially since HIM professionals have been trained
to work with data in both spheres.
This is an excellent opportunity to let your organization
know of these impending situations and discuss how to proceed. Do not hesitate to send us your questions so AHIMA
can address them through its various media outlets. These
questions help the advocacy and policy team as it interacts
and advocates with the policy makers who are working on
these requirements. ¢
Dan Rode ( email@example.com) is AHIMA’s vice president of advocacy