Inventory of Health Care Information Standards. ADA Implementation Guide for ASC X12 837


The standards which are being developed for electronic insurance transactions focus on the "envelope" used to transmit data electronically. The ADA has been working with the ASC X12 in order to define the data content placed in that envelope. The ADA has been responsible for the data content as it pertains to dental claims while the National Uniform Claim Committee (NUCC) and the National Uniform Billing Committee (NUBC) focus on the non-institutional and institutional data sets.

The ADA released an Implementation Guide for dental claims submission based upon the ANSI ASC X12 837 transaction set. The Association provided the data content for a dental claim based upon the ADA Dental Claim Format for the Implementation Guide. The Guide will assist practice management vendors, third-party payers and clearinghouses in the execution of the ASC X12 standards. Future versions of the 837 Dental Implementation Guide will be developed by ASC X12. However, the ADA will continue to provide the data content for the development of an Implementation Guide for dental applications.

The ADA developed two versions of the Implementation Guide (Versions 3041 and 3051) which were adopted by the ASC MD156 and recommended for use by practice management vendors for electronic dental claims transactions. Future versions of the Guide will be developed within the ASC X12. However, the ASC MD156 will continue to work with the ASC X12 Insurance Subcommittee.

1) ANSI/ADA 1000 A Standard Clinical Data Architecture for the Structure and Content of a Computer-based Patient Record. Detailed information pertaining to the ANSI 1000 standard is included in Appendix B entitled Activities to Promote Interoperability of Standards - Frameworks, Architectures, and Models.

Description of Standard:

The ADA Dental Implementation Guide is based upon the ASC X12 837 claims submission transaction. It was developed to assist users such as practice management vendors, third-party payers, and clearinghouses, in the execution of the 837 for dental claims transactions.

Readiness of Standard:

The ASC X12 claims submission 837 is being used for submitting some dental claims. However, utilization of the standard is very low at this time. Currently, most dental claims are submitted using proprietary formats. The 837 is the first standard to be developed for claims transactions. Therefore, the Association encourages that electronic dental claims transactions continue to be submitted in the current electronic formats, whether the transactions are proprietary formats or the 837, and a migration should occur to require ASC X12 formats only. The 837 transaction is the only approved ANSI draft standard for trial use. However, the ASC X12 Interactive Claim standard will soon be finalized and when approved it will be the preferred standard to be used for dental claims transactions.

Identifiable Costs:

The ADA's Implementation Guide version 3051 is free of charge from the ADA. Future versions of the Dental Implementation Guide will be available through DISA.

Contact For More Information:


Ms. Sharon Stanford


Asst. Director,

Guidelines and Standards Development


American Dental Association


211 East Chicago Avenue


Chicago, Illinois 60611


Phone: (312) 440-2509


Fax: (312) 440-7494