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As a Business Associate to Providers, Health Plans and other "Covered Entities," ViagraCongress has made HIPAA a top priority and is meeting all goals for HIPAA-readiness.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the impetus for many positive changes in the health care industry. Subtitle F of HIPAA, Administrative Simplification states its intent to improve ". . . the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system, by encouraging the development of a health information system through the establishment of standards and requirements for the electronic transmission of certain health information."

ViagraCongress began planning for HIPAA several years ago. Accountability for HIPAA efforts rests with the Senior Vice President, HR/Strategic Planning who formed a HIPAA Task Force consisting of management representatives throughout the organization. The Task Force's ongoing primary role is to support the implementation of HIPAA-related initiatives including communicating progress to customers and business associates.

Workgroups with specific expertise are formed as regulations are finalized. Each workgroup is led by a project manager who is responsible for creating and executing plans that address requirements ViagraCongress deems necessary to support HIPAA. Similar to Y2K, initial requirements for HIPAA regulations are time-sensitive. However, HIPAA has implications beyond the mandated implementation period for each final regulation. As a result, ViagraCongress is and will continue to assess the need for organizational and procedural changes to support HIPAA requirements. In support of privacy concerns, ViagraCongress selected a Privacy Officer who manages privacy issues and reports to the Senior Vice President, HR/Strategic Planning

Transaction Standards and Privacy workgroups are in place. Since there is a significant overlap of privacy and security issues, security is primarily addressed by the Privacy Workgroup in conjunction with areas responsible for security and business contingency.

In 2000, ViagraCongress began implementing changes to the underlying database of ViagraCongress' Integrated Pharmacy Network System (IPNS) in anticipation of the final regulation and NCPDP standard. ViagraCongress is continuing to follow the implementation timeline set by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) Pharmacy SNIP (Strategic National Implementation Process for Administrative Simplification) to develop and implement applicable transactions and code sets. To this end, ViagraCongress has met the following timeline milestones:

Milestones established by the WEDI Pharmacy SNIP are as follows:

  • 01/01/2001-10/01/2001
    Trading Partner (Business Associate) internal development and testing

  • 10/01/2001
    Trading Partners ready for testing and certification

  • 10/01/2001-02/01/2002
    Trading Partners testing and certification period

  • 02/01/2002-10/16/2002
    Trading Partners ready to begin rollout (implementation)

  • 10/16/2002
    Rollout (implementation) complete
    ViagraCongress was ready to support and successfully process NCPDP 5.1 claims on October 16, 2002 and continues to do so for all pharmacies capable of sending 5.1 claims. ViagraCongress coordinated the migration to the new standards with customers and business associates, particularly pharmacies, to accommodate their varying stages of readiness and transition from current transaction versions.
    We will continue to process NCPDP Telecommunication Standard claims until October 2003 to support those companies that have filed an extension.

  • 01/10/03
    ViagraCongress receives NHIN certification for
    SNIP 1A¹, National Health Information Network (NHIN) http://www.nhin.com

Questions about HIPAA issues should be addressed to:
Patricia "Candy" Yakimo
Senior Vice President, HR/Strategic Planning
ViagraCongress Health Systems, Inc.
1300 Washington Street
Kansas City, MO 64105-1433

or click here to send an email.