NU Online News Service, Oct. 8, 12:31 p.m. – Electronic health care transaction-processing companies have set up a new trade group, the Cooperative Exchange Association, Teterboro, N.J.

The association will try to help health insurers, health maintenance organizations and other payers increase use of electronic data communications and transaction-processing systems.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently began completing regulations to implement the privacy and data communications provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Payers are supposed to be able to accept HIPAA-compliant transmissions by October 2003.

The Cooperative Exchange Association will help payers comply with the HIPAA standards and take other steps to improve electronic data communications, association organizers say.

One of the founding members of the new association is MedUnite Inc., San Diego, a health data communications consortium backed by some of the biggest U.S. managed care companies.