Challenges of complying with HIPAA
Pharmacies running out of time to meet the looming deadline to begin using the mandated HIPAA electronic transaction standard can still ask Uncle Sam for a one-year extension. Pharmacies are supposed to be ready to roll with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs Version 5.1 standard by Oct. 16. However, the Department of Health & Human Services decided to let pharmacies and other covered entities submit compliance plans to earn a one-year deadline extension. Perhaps the easiest way to get an extension is to use the model compliance plan on-line. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and file electronically. The form is on the Web at www.cms.hhs.gov/hipaa/hipaa2/ascaform.asp . Electronic filers will be given a confirmation number acknowledging that an extension has been granted. Pharmacies can, however, create their own compliance plans. If the plan contains all the required information, the extension is automatically granted. Plans can be submitted electronically or on paper, but not both. Paper submissions, postmarked no later than Oct. 15, should be mailed to: Attention: Model Compliance Plans, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, P.O. Box 8040, Baltimore, MD 21244-8040. Bear in mind that trading partners, such as PBMs and Medicaid, may still require Version 5.1 on Oct. 16, but getting an extension avoids a government penalty for noncompliance.
Judy Chi. Still time to apply for HIPAA extension. Drug Topics 2002;13:52.