Are You Antsy over ANSI?
ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute. ANSI is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide. For example, standards ensure that people who own cameras can find the film they need for that camera anywhere around the globe. The Institute administers five standards panels including the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel. The panel works to identify, coordinate, and harmonize relevant voluntary standards relevant to these areas. So you may now see why ANSI would be relevant to HIPAA.
ANSI is referenced in Section 160.103 of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), within the definitional section. HIPAA authorizes HHS to require the use of standards for the electronic exchange of health care data and to specify what medical and administrative code sets should be used within those standards. Later, ANSI appears in the administrative requirement section of HIPAA- Section 162.940- which explains how an organization may petition HHS to deviate from standard transactions and code sets. HHS sets forth a list of evaluative criteria by which such requests will be examined. The petitioning process is extensive and burdensome. In part, an organization must show that the modification be supported by an ANSI-accredited standard setting organization or public organization that would maintain the standard over time.
There has been much discussion and gnashing of teeth regarding a looming requirement that all HIPAA covered entities update to ANSI 5010 and begin using the updated ICD-10 code set. Here, think of ANSI 5010 as the pipeline and ICD-10 as the oil—the highly detailed and discrete coding information system to help ensure precise reimbursement.
By October 1, 2014, all covered entities must be ready to embrace the new coding system, having made all the necessary technological updates and provided adequate training to physicians and administrative staff.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea about ANSI’s role in standardizing the method by which health care information is coded and conveyed.
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