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House of Representatives Passes Healthcare Reform Bill

Article

The House of Representatives voted 220-215 on Saturday, November 7, to pass healthcare reform bill 3962.

The healthcare reform bill passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, November 7, standardizes and expands HIPAA transaction sets, steps that will simplify the healthcare delivery process.

Under the House bill, HR 3962, “operating rules” must be adopted to standardize the HIPAA standards, which are intended to simplify the process of financial and administrative transactions. The new set of guidelines for transactions “would be authoritative, permitting no additions or constraints for electronic transactions, including companion guides,” according to language in HR 3962. Under the bill, healthcare transactions will be developed in a way that allows healthcare providers to determine the extent of an individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service. The newly passed bill will also increase the reach of HIPAA transactions by “mandating use of the claims attachment standard.”

Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) issued statements in support of the passing of the House bill. The statement from the MGMA said that “these modifications will, quite literally, transform the health care delivery process.”

Another provision of HR 3962 will require the FDA to put a unique medical device identification system into place.

Also pending in the House is HR 3961, which would do away with the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula, used in determining Medicare physician payment rates. According to the release, if changes to the system do not occur by the end of 2009, Medicare payments to physicians will be cut by 21% in 2010.

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