State lines

Septic system check. Rhode Island homeowners, builders and installers can now check their applications for individual sewage disposal systems through the state's Web portal, at www.ri.gov/dem/isdssearch.

The free service, updated daily, helps users track applications through the design, permitting and installation procedures of the Environmental Management Department.

Users can query the septic system database by town, street address or name. The Web site lists data such as the nature of all major actions, date of application submittal and date the system is ready to be used.

The Environmental Management Department receives about 1,600 applications a year for new systems and 1,100 applications for repair or replacement of old systems.

The database lets users search all applications starting in 1992, officials said.

8Health tracking. The Washington, D.C., Public Health Department next month will begin using a disease alert system designed to help city officials identify irregular disease outbreaks and bioterrorism attacks.

The Bio-Alert service from Accela Inc. of Dublin, Calif., has a Web interface that connects the health department to hospitals, emergency call centers, veterinarians, clinics, pharmacies, schools and universities. Personnel at those institutions can enter disease information via standard Web browser into the system, which transmits it to an Oracle database. If combined health data from the sources indicates an outbreak or unusual pattern, the Accela system automatically alerts health care institutions by e-mail.

8HIPAA deal. The Illinois Department of Public Aid has awarded a $3 million contract to American Management Systems Inc. for systems integration and consulting services to help the agency comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

By a federally mandated deadline of Oct. 16, the public-aid department will be able to process transactions in compliance with national standards for safeguarding personal health information.

Under the contract, the Fairfax, Va., IT consulting firm will also develop an electronic claims submission system that will let about 60,000 health care providers that work with the state agency submit their claims, inquire about claims status and get payment advice via the Internet.

When fully implemented, the system is expected to process up to 32 million claims per year.

Donna Morea, executive vice president and general manager of AMS' public-sector group, said the public-aid department would be prepared to meet the October deadline, improve service, cut down on paperwork and reduce costs by processing claims online.

The Department of Public Aid provides medical assistance to low-income, elderly and disabled people.

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