[ Tuesday, June 18, 2002 ]


OK, I've been sleeping. Or not sleeping, staying up late to watch the World Cup. Nah, not really, just busy.

What's happened recently in HIPAAland, you ask? Not too much, but more is expected soon.

One true piece of news is the issuance of a final rule on the Employer Identifier. As part of the transaction and code set regulations, HHS is supposed to come up with standard identifiers for providers, plans, employers, and individuals. The concept is to have each participant in healthcare transactions to be reduced to one permanent number, to make the transaction format and content even more streamlined for EDI purposes. For providers, expect the new numbers to replace PIN or UPIN numbers (for physicians) or some other universal number. For plans, HCFA was already working on a universal numbering system for health plans, so expect that to come into play when those numbers get assigned. For individuals, expect the final rule to never come; too many people have too many (legitimate? maybe) concerns about identity theft or other invasion of privacy if some evil person came into possession of their number. This really gets the "black helicopter crowd" going. And they might have a point. So, for the time being, expect the Social Security Number to continue to be the surrogate for the individual number.

Guess what HHS used for the Employer number. Naturally, the "Employer Identification Number," sometimes known as the tax identification number.

So, when it comes to publishing identifier regulations, they got the easy one out of the way first. We'll see how they do on the rest.

Jeff [2:06 PM]

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