IF STATES THOUGHT Y2K WAS BEHIND THEM AND THE ROAD TO ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT WAS WIDE OPEN, THEY'D BETTER LOOK AGAIN. That fast-approaching object in the rearview mirror is an ungainly set of regulations known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, HIPAA's full impact will be felt in two years when all health-care organizations, including state Medicaid programs, must comply with stringent regulations governing the electronic management of medical information or face severe penalties.
Recent debates on the controversial issues of H-1B visas culminated, for the time, with President Clinton's signing of legislation to increase the number of high-tech-oriented H-1B visas given out yearly to skilled foreign workers.
ARE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS READY FOR ANOTHER TEST OF THEIR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SKILLS AND STAMINA? We'll soon find out. By August 2002, the entire health-care industry must comply with the federal government's new regulations as specified under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). That means every government health service, from municipal hospitals and county health clinics to state Medicaid programs, must have an entirely new set of standards in place for electronically managing medical information and records or face penalties.