Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650

Nov. 20, 2002


HOUSTON (SMU) -- SMU's Advanced Computer Education Center in Houston is now offering training to help healthcare professionals comply with new federal legislation designed to protect patient privacy.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), passed by Congress in 1996, established standards to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of healthcare transactions. The legislation requires that anyone with access to patient information -- including lawyers, doctors, athletic trainers, dentists and insurance companies -- take classes to learn how to implement the legislation.

Selected healthcare professionals also are required to take exams to prove their competence in the new areas. Healthcare professionals and organizations must become compliant by mandated dates in 2003.

SMU has partnered with the HIPPA Academy, a private company based in Des Moines, Iowa, to offer HIPAA classes in the Houston area.

"The HIPAA Academy fills a void created by the vast requirements within the HIPAA legislation," said Allen Nguyen, president for the HIPAA Academy Program. "People don't know where to go to prepare for HIPAA compliancy. Business professionals in the health care and insurance industries, as well as IT professionals, will find that the HIPAA Academy programs are a critical first step for acquiring HIPAA knowledge and skills to participate as valuable members of HIPAA compliance teams within organizations."

Uday O. Ali Pabrai, chairman of the HIPAA Academy, previously created the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) program and was the co-creator of the security certification program, SCP.

Tom Bonesteel, director of SMU's Advanced Computer Education Center in Houston, said the HIPAA training programs will be one more addition to an extensive list of classes that the center currently offers to individuals and the business community.

"This will be a real opportunity for SMU to serve the healthcare industry and its partners by providing the training necessary to comply with the federally mandated HIPAA regulations protecting health information contained in an individual's medical records," Bonesteel said.

SMU's Advanced Computer Education Center in Houston already provides training in Microsoft Windows, UNIX Administration, Oracle DBA and Cisco. The center also recently added project management courses as well as SAIR/Linux certifications. For more information on classes offered at the center, call 713-662-9768 or visit

For more information on the HIPAA Academy, visit