NU Online News Service, July 18, 11:10 a.m. — Gartner Inc., Stamford, Conn., reports in a recent study that 85% of health care providers have yet to complete assessments or gap analyses, which are a way to achieve compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act transaction regulations.

The regulations are supposed to create a standardized, national system for transmitting health insurance claims and other coverage-related information electronically, to reduce the administrative costs of the U.S. health care finance system.

Gartner started conducting quarterly HIPAA surveys in the fall of 2000, to assess how the health care industry is responding to HIPAA transaction regulations and other HIPAA regulations.

Sixty-eight percent of the participants in the latest survey said doubts about the ultimate compliance deadlines, and doubts about whether HIPAA itself is here to stay, have had a significant effect on their organizations’ progress.

“These doubts, driven by continuing lobbying efforts and bills in Congress to effectively kill the regulation with a two- to four-year deadline extension, are severely damaging the HIPAA transaction regulation compliance effort,” says Matt Duncan, Gartner’s research director.

Gartner recommends that the government give health care organizations an extra year before requiring them to accept standardized transactions.

Pushing the transaction deadline back to Oct. 16, 2003, would give health care organizations enough time to implement standardized electronic data communications transactions, Gartner says.