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The final rule on Transactions and Code Sets required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 contains ambiguities concerning use of the National Drug Code (NDC) set for the reporting of drugs and biologic items, according to testimony given in Washington, DC by the American Hospital Association (AHA). These ambiguities could pose significant hardships for both providers and payers, says George Arges, senior director of the AHA’s Health Data Management Group and chairman of the National Uniform Billing Committee.
During his testimony before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, Arges said the adoption of the NDC in lieu of the Health Care Financing Administration’s "J" codes now in use would require extensive conversion and replacement of existing information systems, as well as the associated training costs in working with the new code set. Although the cost would vary according to the size of the facility, hospital estimates put the price at a minimum of $200,000 per facility.