Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Paperwork shake-up in the wings.

Byline: Winthrop Quigley Journal Staff Writer

* New law tells health care industry to standardize patient records, business operations

If you liked what the Y2K computer bug did for computer upgrades and some panicky system assessments, you will love what HIPAA is about to do to the health care industry.

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 federal legislation that will cost the health care industry anywhere from $8 billion to $43 billion in computer updates and business operations changes, depending on whose estimates are to be believed.

The act has computer jockeys in hospitals, state government and insurance companies wondering how they will change all their software to meet federal mandates to standardize and protect computer-based patient data.

Once they succeed, however, national health cost savings are estimated to be $250 billion, according to David Scrase, president of Presbyterian Health Plan, who took part in a panel discussion at a recent HIPAA conference in Albuquerque attended by 200 information technology and health care professionals. …

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