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RISK MANAGEMENT

What you should know about new COVID-19 guidance

CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic. “We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks,… . . . read more.

RISK MANAGEMENT

How to handle office romance in 2022

By Lynne Curry Three potential hot messes. In company Z, a senior manager considered his workplace a dating pool in which he fished. When he put the moves on a new female employee, the workplace grapevine ignited. In company Y, the head of marketing had serial crushes on one after another of the male management trainees. Because she was attractive and personable, several of them developed crushes in return. One put the moves on her when they worked all weekend on a project. In company X, the Chief Operating Office and Chief Financial Officer had a not-so-secret affair. Although he hated to, the Chief Executive Officer called them into his office and said, “One of you needs to resign. Unless this happens, we’ll have no defense if we fire someone… . . . read more.

TOOL

Love contracts: Help for hot messes

They arrive at work separately. They never touch each other in your presence. Then, as you chair a meeting, you see his gray eyes seek hers out across the conference table. She returns his gaze; her eyes linger. Suddenly you know. The senior manager, despite all the sexual harassment seminars he’s attended, appears romantically intertwined with an accounting clerk. If you’re in charge, how do you handle this hot mess?  The reality Some managers and supervisors would never have an affair with an employee they oversee or an employee in their company. Others consider the workplace a dating pond in which they fish. Still others fall into a relationship that makes them disregard risks. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, one in three U.S…. . . . read more.

CYBERSECURITY

How to stay vigilant without hiring a surprise attack ninja

Remember the Pink Panther movies? Peter Sellers’ character, Inspector Clouseau, hired “Cato” to randomly attack him. He thought unexpected ninja attacks would keep him every vigilant. While the over the top comedy is ridiculous, it does remind us of how to approach cybersecurity. You do not need to hire someone with a kendo stick to beat your staff into compliance, but frequent “reminders” do promote vigilance. This comparison comes from Mike Sacopulos, founder and CEO of the Medical Risk Institute. He said most practices provide cybersecurity training when an employee is first hired, and annually after that. While certainly this method will check the box for “security training” it is highly ineffective for maintaining good cybersecurity habits. Cybersecurity training is not a “once you learn it, you know how to… . . . 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.

SAFETY

Workplace active shooter: Run, hide, fight

By Lynne Curry It’s not your imagination. There are more incidents of violence across our country than ever before. It doesn’t matter where you live. Nor that you don’t believe it could happen in your town, your workplace or at your kids’ school. You’ve seen the news reports. The violence in workplaces including healthcare settings, schools, restaurants, train stations, malls, and churches. Innocence can’t save you. It might get you killed. Would you know what to do if  someone started shooting? Knowing what to do could keep you alive. Suppose you hear something odd. At first, you think it’s a car backfiring. Then you hear the same sound again and again. Gunshots, repeated in rapid succession. Fear grips you. You hear others screaming. You struggle to catch a breath. You… . . . read more.

DATA SECURITY

Is your contact form providing a back door for cybercriminals?

By Doug Striker As automated email filtering gets better at screening for phishing attempts, criminals are responding by looking for attack techniques that evade those tools. Believe or not, their newest tactic is to fill out online contact forms and then use the response process to sneak malware into your system. By now, we are all familiar with email phishing. Most medical offices today are conducting (or should be conducting) security awareness training across their organizations. And, as mentioned above, email filtering technologies have advanced and are quite good at stopping some attacks. But crime never sleeps, and cybercriminals have been creatively seeking new ways to infiltrate our systems. Contact forms and cybercrime A company called Abnormal Security has found that a nasty piece of malware called BazarBackdoor is being… . . . 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.

OBSCENE & UNWELCOME

Watch for harassment by emoji in your office

By Lynne Curry “How much trouble are we in?” the practice administrator asked. I looked at the sheaf of text and Slack messages, loaded with emojis, and stopped on one sent in early March that asked, “Good to know you’re almost done with the project and headed for the weekend. Do you garden?” flanked by an eggplant emoji. Other texts included peaches, dump trucks, sweat droplets, and smiley faces with tongues sticking out. “How did you get these?” I asked. “An employee resigned, refused to come in for an exit interview, and sent these in the mail.” “Did you notice the recipient of the gardening question responded, ‘stop, just stop!” “No, these were just informal texts going back and forth between coworkers and employees and their supervisor. I don’t use… . . . read more.

INFORMATION SECURITY

Protect your data as Russia-Ukraine war increases cybersecurity risk

By Ron Slyker As part of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russian cyberattacks have primarily targeted Ukrainian government and bank systems, but the attacks may spread to countries outside of Ukraine soon. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and the FBI have warned organizations to increase protection as a precaution in case these attacks begin to affect the United States. Experts have reported known Russian cyber groups gathering information on U.S. infrastructure like electric and gas sites. While the FBI and CISA have received no warnings of direct threats to any Western countries, it is best to act now to protect your information. What can you do to protect your business from global conflict? Take action. Experts believe that any Russian cyberattacks would be disruptive, rather than intended to steal data, but… . . . read more.


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