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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance

Commissioner Steven M. Goldman

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2006

For Further Information:
Jim Gardner (609) 292-5064

Electronic Health Records Initiative Advances with Conference Training Series

TRENTON – New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Steven M. Goldman today announced a series of statewide training sessions on electronic record keeping for the state’s health care industry, an initiative designed to reduce medical costs and increase patient safety by creating a more efficient system.

The series began with a kick-off conference held last week in Trenton, where more than 150 representatives from medical providers, payers, billing and claims handling vendors and hospitals learned how to apply for a National Provider Identifier (NPI) required by federal law. The NPI is a 10-digit number assigned to medical providers. Health insurance carriers are assigned a similar National Health Plan Identifier.

“A safe and efficient medical care system in New Jersey makes good business sense, and as Governor Corzine has stated, making affordable health insurance available to everyone is our ultimate goal,” Goldman said. “The NPI training sessions and medical security/privacy solutions pilot study is part of the process and one of the important ways we can make that happen.”

Federal rules will require the NPI for medical claim processing of electronic transactions, with a deadline of May 23, 2007. To date, only about 25 percent of health care providers have applied for an NPI, with approximately 18,600 NPIs issued.   

The ongoing training series is being conducted by the Department of Banking and Insurance in cooperation with the state Departments of Human Services and Health and Senior Services and Thomas Edison State College – all members of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act/Healthcare Information Networks & Technologies (HIPAA/HINT) Task Force. It is another step in the nationwide goal of achieving interoperable electronic health records transfer capability by the year 2014.

In June, the department began a year-long, $349,000 health information security and privacy solutions pilot study. The study is financed by a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

The increased efficiency of an electronic health records system would reduce the cost of medical treatment and healthcare benefits for New Jersey consumers while contributing to a safer healthcare system through the reduction of errors.