Start Your FREE Membership NOW
 Discover Proven Ways to Be a Better Medical Office Manager
 Get Our Weekly eNewsletter, MOMAlert, and MUCH MORE
 Absolutely NO Risk or Obligation on Your Part -- It's FREE!
EMAIL ADDRESS



Upgrade to Premium Membership NOW for Just $90!
Get 3 Months of Full Premium Membership Access
Includes Our Monthly Newsletter, Office Toolbox, Policy Center, and Archives
Plus, You Get FREE Webinars, and MUCH MORE!
COVID-19

What do I say to patients who ask about my team’s vaccination status?

By Paul Edwards bio As vaccinations continue to be distributed to more and more members of the American workforce, one of the recurring questions we are getting concerns how to respond to patients who ask about whether or not your team has been vaccinated. Patients might pose this question over the phone before their scheduled appointment, or might ask it to one of your employees during their visit. Your employees’ health information is protected In response to such a question, it’s important to remember that your employees’ personal health information is protected in just the same way as your patients’ health information. Therefore, it is generally not a good idea to offer information to your patients that might expose any of your employees’ inability (or unwillingness) to get vaccinated. If… . . . read more.

TOOL

Model Social Distancing Policy

As the pandemic drags on, medical offices and other essential businesses that remain open must be scrupulous to ensure employees maintain social distancing both at and away from the workplace. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt to accomplish that objective in accordance with your specific circumstances and the terms of the latest public health guidelines in effect in your state or city.

TOOL

Medical Office Worker’s Acknowledgement of Decision to Decline COVID-19 Vaccination

It behooves you to ensure that medical office staff get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect not only themselves but also co-workers, patients and others at your facility. But what if workers neglect or just plain refuse to be vaccinated? There are two basic options: Option 1: Require medical office workers to be vaccinated Option 2: Encourage medical office workers to be vaccinated voluntarily If you select Option 2, require workers to sign a form acknowledging that they were offered the vaccine and voluntarily declined to accept it and list the reasons for doing so. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Mandatory COVID vaccination: new guidance & update

By Lynne Curry bio Can employers require their employees to receive COVID-vaccinations? While vaccination is one of an employer’s best tools for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks at their worksites, requiring employees to be vaccinated and disciplining them if they refuse comes with legal risks. Although the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s December 2020 guidelines stated that employers could implement and enforce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for certain jobs and with certain exceptions1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that recipients of vaccines under an “emergency use authorization” (which includes the current COVID vaccines) must be informed that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccination. For more detail on this federal agency contradiction, see https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/01/covid-vaccination-update-in-light-of-the-vaccines-emergency-use-authorization-status/ “The current problem,” says Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “is that many… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

What medical office managers need to know about HIPAA

By Jordan MacAvoy bio The Health Information Portability and Protection Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996. The regulation stipulates standards that healthcare organizations and vendors must adhere to when it comes to patients’ protected health information (PHI). HIPAA-beholden organizations must secure their PHI for them to gain compliance status. Healthcare organizations and their vendors must appoint a HIPAA manager to oversee the implementation of the compliance program. If your organization has any HIPAA obligations and you get selected for this role, you should be aware of those regulations and what they mean to your business. Here’s what you should know as an office manager. Who are the covered entities? “Covered entities” refer to health insurers, healthcare providers, and any other professional individuals/organizations that handle patients’ medical information in the course… . . . read more.

AMA REPORTS

Physician practices under threat with pandemic

The viability of physician practices remains under threat as the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic hits record levels of cases being reported across the United States. A nationwide physician survey issued late last year by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows medical practices have been economically stressed by the public health crisis with a 32% average drop in revenue. “Physician practices continue to be under significant financial stress due to reductions in patient volume and revenue, in addition to higher expenses for supplies that are scarce for some physicians” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. “More economic relief is needed now from Congress as some medical practices contemplate the brink of viability, particularly smaller practices that are facing a difficult road to recovery.” The AMA’s nationally representative survey of 3,500… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Has OSHA done enough to enforce COVID-19 safety rules for medical offices?

Even after the election and swearing in of the new President, federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains a politically charged issue. One area of contention involves whether OSHA has done enough to protect healthcare workers and other workers exposed to the virus. On Jan. 8, the agency issued a statistical report documenting its COVID-19 enforcement efforts starting with the beginning of the pandemic and running through Dec. 31, 2020. Employer liability for COVID-19 violations under OSHA laws Nobody disputes that under OSHA, medical offices and other employers have a duty to protect workers from risk of COVID-19 infection. What may be less clear, is the source of that duty. Neither the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Act) nor the regulations say anything about COVID-19 or, with a few… . . . read more.

Tool

Model waiver of COVID-19 infection liability sign to post at your medical office

As long as COVID-19 remains a threat, you run the risk of being sued by clients, vendors, guests and other visitors (“visitors”) who claim they contracted the virus at your office facility as a result of your inadequate safety measures. One way to limit liability is by conspicuously posting a sign at the entry of your facility indicating visitors’ agreement to waive their rights to sue you for COVID-19 infections by entering the office. Although there’s no guarantee that a court would enforce such a waiver, the Model Sign below uses fairly conservative language that has been found to be enforceable in other situations. Caveat: The inclusion of the phrase purporting to insulate you against your own negligence in Sections 3 and 4 is fairly risky and you may want… . . . read more.

MEDICAL RECORDS

5 lessons learned From 5 HIPAA fines in one day

By Danika Brinda bio The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hit a new record on Sept. 15, 2020—five HIPAA Fines with Corrective Action Plans in one day. The fines and corrective action plans had one main theme in common—not supplying patients with a copy of requested medical records in a timely fashion. The other thing of note from the action of the OCR is that these were not large multi-million dollar fines that are based on data breaches. These were fines that ranged from $3,500–$70,000 and were all based on a patient making a complaint to the federal government, which upon investigation, lead to the findings of noncompliance with HIPAA and patient’s rights defined by HIPAA. 5 lessons learned: Patients have a right… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

CMS announces historic changes to physician self-referral regs

CMS has finalized changes to the Physician Self-Referral Law. The law prohibited physicians from making referrals to an entity, for certain health care services, if the physician had a financial relationship with the entity. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the changes to outdated federal regulations it says have burdened health care providers with added administrative costs and impeded the health care system’s move toward value-based reimbursement. The Physician Self-Referral Law, also known as the “Stark Law,” generally prohibits a physician from sending a patient for many types of services to a provider that the physician owns, is employed by, or otherwise receives payment from—regardless of what that payment is for. The old federal regulations that interpret and implement this law were designed for a health care system… . . . read more.


(-0)