Although the federal government granted the healthcare industry an extra year to comply with the transactions and code set rules mandated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), experts say a procedural mess is set to occur on Oct. 16.That's the date for the HIPAA deadline-which originally was set for Oct. 16, 2002-for health plans, providers and clearinghouses to cease processing proprietary transactions and use only standardized transactions that comply with the 1996 law.

The purpose of HIPAA's transaction provisions-known as "administrative simplification"-is to streamline billing, improve eligibility inquiries and referral authorizations, permit standard payment formats to post to accounts receivable systems, and automate claims status inquiries.

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