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A coalition of health-care vendors and providers is urging the government to make sure that health-care payments are not disrupted or delayed as the industry moves to comply with new national standards for electronic health-care records, which are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the largest health-care payer in the country, has stated that after July 2004 it will no longer accept claims that don’t meet HIPAA formatting standards. But many of the intermediaries between health-care providers and CMS—the ultimate payer—will not be able to process the claims, according to the coalition, called the HIPAA Implementation Working Group.

Jack Emery, assistant director of federal affairs at the American Medical Association, called on the government to do more to ease the transition to HIPAA compliance, stating that current efforts have decreased rather than increased the efficiency of processing health claims.

“The current haphazard migration process has increased transaction costs and continues to present a risk of disrupting health-care payments and therefore health-care services,” Emery said.

The coalition includes groups representing physicians, hospitals, clinical laboratories, vendors and clearinghouses.

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