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!

How to keep your email compliant with HIPAA

By Ron Slyker bio If you are a medical office manager, you have more than likely heard the term “HIPAA compliance.” Most relate it to the protection of patient health information (PHI) within the office, but HIPAA compliance extends beyond internal communications. Ensuring email is HIPAA compliant is one of the most overlooked components of HIPAA compliance. A common misunderstanding is that an email is secure when you are sending it. Nevertheless, if the right protective layers are not configured, this is not the case. HIPAA compliant email communication is a necessity in today’s technical environment. Encryption Email Encryption is almost always mandatory to be HIPAA Compliant. Simply put, when an email is encrypted, the contents are masked to everyone but the recipient. There are two types of encryption: Transport… . . . read 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.

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.

Telecommuting

Cybersecurity risks rise when medical admin staff work from home

By Ron Slyker The number of people who work from home has slowly increased from year to year. In 2020 that number skyrocketed as companies including medical offices were forced to implement telecommuting policies. Making the transition from traditional office to home office has brought some challenges, but arguably the most challenging aspect of the process has been maintaining cybersecurity. Now in 2021 the need for remote worker security is more important than ever. Keep yourself safe with network security assessments Employees who work from home are more susceptible to cyber threats than employees who work in the office. The reason is businesses can afford enterprise-level cybersecurity services. The average home not only does not have access to this level of security but may also lack basic security measures. When working from… . . . 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

How to create a legally sound COVID-19 medical screening policy

 As essential workplaces, medical offices need to remain open and operating during the pandemic. At the same time, they need to ensure that employees practice social distancing and keep the infected and potentially infected away from the well. Like so many other companies facing the same challenge, you may be considering medically screening your employees each day before letting them into the workplace. While screening is highly problematic in normal times, regulators have grudgingly acknowledged that it may be a justified health and safety measure during the pandemic. The operative phrase is “may be,” which means that limits still apply. As office manager, you need to recognize and ensure keep your facility in compliance with those limits. Here’s how. Three ways COVID-19 screening can get your office into legal hot… . . . read more.

COVID-19

Telemedicine calls for new etiquette guidelines

By Dr. Neil Baum bio Coronavirus has changed the playing field and methodology of caring for patients. We no longer will be seeing all our patients in our offices. Also, there has been a relaxation of the restrictions, such as HIPAA, for using telemedicine and now, or the first time, there are codes and reimbursements that make it possible to be compensated for virtual care. Just as there are proper behaviors expected of physicians who are face-to-face with patients, there is a new code of behavior for telemedicine. Even though telemedicine appointments are becoming popular, video conferencing etiquette can be a challenge to many physicians. I would like to offer a few suggestions for making your telemedicine visits more professional. Use good gear Use the top-of-the line equipment. Even though… . . . read more.

CORONAVIRUS

AMA puts out telemedicine guide

The American Medical Association (AMA) has compiled a guide to help physicians get telemedicine up and running so they can safely care for patients. The telemedicine quick guide outlines the first steps to get started and lays out key considerations to implementing telemedicine and explains policy, coding and payment. Even if your practice didn’t use telemedicine before, it may be an option now. Federal government agencies temporarily relaxed certain federal privacy regulations during the COVID-19 crisis and expanded payment policies. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is letting physicians provide beneficiaries a wider range of health care services without having to visit a health care facility. This CMS fact sheet explains more. Also, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General is waiving Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements for COVID-19 treatment delivered via telehealth from a doctor’s office or hospital emergency department. Learn more with… . . . read more.

CORONAVIRUS

Before you let your employees work remote

By Paul Edwards bio In light of growing concerns surrounding coronavirus, many businesses are wondering if they will be faced with a decision to send employees home and/or close their doors for a period of time. One popular idea to address these concerns is to offer remote work (or ‘telework’) options. If you don’t regularly have remote workers, this may not be something you’re prepared to do. That said, we recommend making a plan now so you’re ready when you need it. The guidance we offer below is “perfect world” guidance. We realize that you may not be able to get all of these items in place on short-notice. In such cases, you will just have to do your best to meet your business’ needs during temporary remote-work scenarios. In… . . . read more.

INFORMATION SECURITY

HIPAA enforcement takes a dramatic new direction

Historically, HIPAA enforcement has focused predominantly on the failure of covered entities to keep protected health information (PHI) private and secure; but now the scope is broadening to encompass keeping PHI too private and too secure. The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the agency that enforces HIPAA rules, has broken new ground by fining a Florida hospital for failing to provide access to PHI to the individual it relates to. Here’s a look at the case and what it portends about the new direction in HIPAA enforcement. The HIPAA Right of Access When you hear the term “HIPAA Privacy Rule,” the first thing likely to jump into your mind is the obligation to keep PHI secure and refrain from disclosing it to third parties without appropriate authorization. But there’s… . . . read more.


(-0)