By the original Oct. 16 deadline, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its contractors will be prepared to accept and process HIPAA-compliant electronic transactions from any entity that does not apply for a one-year extension to meet the requirements, spokespersons for the government operations say.
"We are planning on meeting the October deadline," says Mayo Gilson, M.D., medical director for Medicare Services, an Oklahoma City contractor that handles Medicare Part B claims in Oklahoma and New Mexico.
CMS contracts out its Medicare claims processing and payment operations to private entities like Gilson's. He says he is unaware of any other Part B contractors that cannot meet the deadline, a view echoed by CMS spokesperson Don McLeod.
"We've said all along that we will be ready," McLeod says. As of mid-July, "it's still on."
Healthcare entities subject to the HIPAA regulations for transactions and code sets may request an extra year to comply with the rules by filing a compliance plan with CMS before Oct. 16. Late last year, Congress granted the extension after hearing testimony that many state and local governments and private healthcare entities would not meet the original deadline.
The legislation requires that most providers submit all of their Medicare claims electronically by Oct. 16, 2003. Only physician practices with fewer than 10 full-time employees, other healthcare facilities with fewer than 25 employees or those without a method of filing electronic claims are exempt from this new