Comment: Several commenters requested that the definition of a health care clearinghouse be reworded. Of particular concern was the reference to other entities, such as billing services, repricing companies, etc. Commenters stated the definition would preclude these other entities from using a health care clearinghouse for format translation and data conversion. Several commenters stated health care clearinghouses play roles other than data and format conversion as described in the proposed rule.
Response: If an entity does not perform the functions of format translation and data conversion, it is not considered a health care clearinghouse under our definition. Billing services, for example, are often extensions of a health care provider’s office, primarily performing data entry of health care claims and reconciling the payments received from a health plan. Health care providers may use health care clearinghouses for format translation and other services a health care clearinghouse provides. We agree the definition should be reworded and have revised the definition in §160.103.