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California Health Care Leaders Work Together in Anticipation of Federal HIPAA Regulations

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San Francisco, CA, August 15, 2000 – Anticipating the publication later this week of long-awaited federal regulations, leaders representing employers, health plans, hospitals and physicians announced today a readymade solution to one of the mandates of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Among other things, this legislation calls for the use of rigorous standards for the electronic transmission of patients’ health care information. To ensure quick and cost-effective compliance with this mandate, representatives of CALINX (California Information Exchange) are urging their colleagues to take advantage of a framework three years in the making.

Originating in an effort to ensure patient confidentiality and the promotion of good business practices, CALINX is a collaborative effort of the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), the California Association of Health Plans (CAHP), the National IPA Coalition (NIPAC), the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), the California Healthcare Association (CHA) and the California Medical Association (CMA). CALINX has developed data content agreements and rules by which employers and health care organizations share data—but only the data needed—for effective health care operations. Its agreements cover the usage, accuracy and timeliness of exchanging electronic health care information in conformance with HIPAA transaction sets.

"Physicians should have up-to-date insurance information on their patients, but employers should not have clinical information on their employees," explained Jack Lewin, MD, head of the CMA and member of the CALINX Oversight Group. "CALINX has brought together often contentious sectors of the industry to voluntarily agree on who should get what information, for what purpose, in what timeframe."

HIPAA regulations require that health care entities be in compliance with the legislation's mandates within two years. "All health care organizations face tremendous challenges in implementing privacy regulations," noted Walter Zelman, CEO of CAHP. "However, thanks to CALINX, we have a head start. Employers, plans, hospitals and physicians are already collaborating on implementation. We cannot be working at cross-purposes. CALINX is really a down payment on HIPAA."

Peter Lee, newly appointed President & CEO of PBGH added, "The fact that these California stakeholders have come together to work on implementing a complex, yet crucial, set of information requirements demonstrates why others often look to California as a role model in health care. We hope that others will join the effort and be early adopters. Without data we cannot measure and improve quality."

Other members of the CALINX Oversight Group include Robert Margolis, MD, CEO HealthCare Partners, one of California's largest medical groups; Laura Aalto, NIPAC's newly elected President; Duane Dauner, President of CHA; and George Perlstein, MD, Executive Director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. More information is available at www.calinx.org.

Clark Miller
Senior Communications Manager
Pacific Business Group on Health
Telephone: (415) 615–6302
E–mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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