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HIPAA

Proposed rule would standardize how to send health care attachments

It might get easier for your medical office to send healthcare attachments and electronic signatures. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has issued a proposed rule, “Adoption of Standards for Health Care Attachments Transactions and Electronic Signatures, and Modification to Referral Certification and Authorization Transaction Standard (CMS-0053-P).” If finalized, the proposed rule, would adopt standards for “health care attachments” transactions, such as medical charts, x-rays, and provider notes that document physician referrals, and office or telemedicine visits. The modifications to the HIPAA transactions would support both health care claims and prior authorization transactions, standards for electronic signatures to be used in conjunction with health care attachments transactions, and a modification to the standard for the referral certification and authorization transaction. The is a part of ongoing efforts to… . . . read more.

DATA SECURITY

9-point checklist for medical office cybersecurity

Is your office doing all it can to protect your patients’ sensitive medical data? Here’s a nine-point checklist to protect the security and privacy of your patients. Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and change them regularly. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for added security. Keep all software and systems up to date with the latest security patches. Use antivirus software and firewall protection to prevent unauthorized access to your systems. Educate employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as not clicking on links in suspicious emails and not sharing login information. Use encryption to protect sensitive data, such as patient medical records, when it is transmitted or stored electronically. Regularly backup important data to protect against data loss due to cyber attacks or other disasters. Implement policies and procedures for… . . . read more.

FEDERAL PRIVACY LAW

10 basic steps to comply with HIPAA

HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a federal law that protects the privacy of individuals’ personal and medical information. HIPAA is important for medical offices because it sets standards for the protection and handling of this sensitive information, which is critical to maintaining the trust of patients and ensuring the confidentiality of their medical records. HIPAA requires medical offices to implement and maintain certain safeguards to protect PHI, including physical, technical, and administrative measures. These measures help to ensure that patient information is only accessed and used by authorized individuals, and that it is handled in a way that maintains its integrity and confidentiality. Non-compliance with HIPAA regulations can result in significant fines and legal consequences for medical offices, as well as damage to their reputation. Therefore,… . . . read more.

DATA SECURITY

4 ways your managed IT provider can help with HIPAA

By Ron Slyker Healthcare IT can best be explained  as technology that allows the secure exchange of medical and patient information between healthcare providers, patients, insurers, and other administrative operations. With the rapid increase of healthcare companies adopting cloud technology to share files and store private data, the need to involve managed service providers to assure full compliance of HIPAA is essential. Here are four ways that your managed services IT provider should be expected to help maintain HIPAA compliance: Encryption. Your managed services provider should make sure that all your devices—including laptops, tablets, and mobile devices—are encrypted. This is the best way to secure your data. And, given that mobile malware is on the rise, you will want to make it a top priority. Set up a reporting process…. . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

5 ways your medical office can violate HIPAA

The HIPAA Privacy Act is a federal law that was established in 1996 to set provisions and standards for the protection of personal health information. The rule puts limits and conditions on the use and disclosure of patient medical information. It also gives patients the right to obtain a copy, examine, and request corrections to their records. Though most medical practices are very careful to keep their patients’ private health information secure, violations of this act can be costly with penalties ranging from $100 to 1.5 million per incident. Regular and ongoing compliance training for all employees is one of the easiest ways to prevent the improper use of PHI and reduce the risk of a violation. Below are a few common HIPAA violations and steps that can be taken… . . . read more.

MANAGING THE OFFICE

7 ways to cut costs with a greener office

By Daryll Esposito The well-being of our planet is a universal concern, but it’s not always front-of-mind when we’re busy at work. The good news is that making greener choices at the office is not only better for the environment, it’s better for your budget too. With Earth Day this week on April 22, it’s time to look at some environmentally friendly improvements. Some common repurposing and recycling advice is not appropriate for a medical office, where confidentiality requires paper to be properly shredded for safe disposal. Infection control requires single-use items, often made of non-biogradeable plastic, and the pandemic has only increased the need for these disposable items. On the other hand, the move to electronic health records greatly reduces paper use. 7 simple, sustainable and cost-saving steps that… . . . read more.

ADVICE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Is your medical office vulnerable to Russian cyberattacks?

The White House is urging businesses to review and improve cybersecurity because of a heightened risk of cyber attacks from Russia. A statement from the Biden-Harris Administration advises businesses to take the following steps: Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication on your systems to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system; Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats; Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors; Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors; Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Clocked out or connected: What you need to know about after-hours group chats

By Paul Edwards “Quick question…” Those two words have become increasingly popular as our near-constant attachment to communication devices blurs the line between work and personal time. Whether by phone, laptop, or tablet—via Slack, WhatsApp, or Google Chat—it’s easier than ever for teams to stay in contact after the workday is done. But employers need to be cautious about how they approach group conversations outside of the workplace. Not only will you need to ensure that your employees are clear on the standards for professional conduct within a group chat or text, but whether or not you have to pay employees for the time they spend messaging will depend on several factors, including the content of the messages, how much time is spent messaging, and whether the employees are classified… . . . read more.

CYBERSECURITY

New safeguards and fines follow data breach investigations in New Jersey

Two cases of exposing patient personal information occurred in New Jersey but serve as warnings to all healthcare providers. The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs has reached a settlement with three New Jersey-based providers of cancer care that the State alleges failed to adequately safeguard patient data, exposing the personal and protected health information of 105,200 consumers, including 80,333 New Jersey residents. Under the terms of the settlement, Regional Cancer Care Associates LLC, RCCA MSO LLC, and RCCA MD LLC (collectively, “RCCA”)—all headquartered in Hackensack, but with 30 locations throughout New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland—have agreed to pay $425,000 and adopt additional privacy and security measures to safeguard individuals’ protected health information and personal information to resolve the State’s investigation into alleged violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act… . . . read more.

HIPAA

5 more HIPAA patient rights violations: strategies for avoiding fines

By Danika Brinda In September of 2019, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services settled the first HIPAA Fine and Corrective Action Plan for $85,000. Fast forward a little over 2 years to late last year  the OCR assigned five more fines and corrective actions plans for non-compliance with Patient Access, now totaling 25 covered entities with settlements with fines. This is a wake-up call for the entire healthcare industry regardless of specialty that having a defined process in place to respond to a patient’s request for information is a must. HIPAA is very clear in the regulations regarding patient access. The main components of the Patient Access Regulation are that:  Patients have a right to inspect and get a copy of their… . . . read more.


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