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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.

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.

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.

COMPLIANCE

5 things to do before a HIPPA audit happens to your medical office

By Jordan MacAvoy The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was introduced to safeguard sensitive patient data. As expected, a good number of covered entities and business associates are yet to implement the safeguards fully. Most of these healthcare providers, business associates, and organizations that are struggling to implement the compliance guidelines, think that they might not be audited. It might not happen today, but eventually, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will get to you. Since you’ve no idea when the OCR will decide to audit your business, the best decision is to prepare for the audit. When the OCR decides to audit your business, they’ll send you an email, and you’ll have 10 business days to compile and provide the relevant documents. Here is how you do… . . . read more.

Patient Privacy

Failure to prevent ransomware attacks exposes healthcare providers to costly negligence lawsuits

Custodians of personal health information have become a prime target for ransomware attacks. In addition to fines for HIPAA violations, failure to safeguard patient medical information against these threats can lead to liability under state negligence and gross negligence laws, including within the framework of potentially disastrous class action lawsuits. The recent case against national cloud software provider Blackbaud, Inc. offers a useful illustration of potential ransomware liability risks. The Ransomware Attack and Class Action Lawsuit    It’s an all too familiar story. Blackbaud was burned in a two-stage ransomware attack that compromised the private, personal data of many of the medical labs, non-profits and other users of its data management software for fundraising and marketing. A group of 34 downstream customers of those clients whose data was exposed banded… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Fraud recoveries grow as feds target telemedicine and COVID-19 add-on test scams

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and continued sequestration of enforcement funds, the federal Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (Program) reversed recent trends and recovered more money in FY 2020 than it had the year before. In fact, recoveries for the year reached nearly $3.1 billion, the highest return since 2016. Here’s a briefing for medical office managers on the July 14 OIG report and what it says about the current state of federal health care fraud enforcement. ROI increases for second year in a row The Program was created as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) under the joint direction of the Attorney General and HHS Secretary, acting through the OIG, to coordinate federal, state and local law health care fraud and abuse… . . . read more.


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