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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.

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.

DRUGS & ALCOHOL

High at work: Anyone else smell that?

By Paul Edwards More often than you would think, we get calls from managers wondering what they can do about someone whom they think is impaired at work. When that happens, we immediately go into crisis control mode because, well, impairment at work is never acceptable. In this article, we are going to discuss impairment and odors from the perspective of marijuana legalization. From job candidates showing up to interviews smelling like a skunk to employees showing up to their shift distracted with bloodshot eyes, knowing how to handle an employee’s potential marijuana use has only gotten more complicated. Currently, marijuana legalization is in limbo between state versus federal government. While many states have moved to legalize or decriminalize its use, marijuana is still an illegal Schedule I drug under… . . . 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.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Hang in there: Most employers say they can endure omicron

A survey of business leaders shows that most shows that most —87 percent—believe their organization would be able to endure an outbreak of the omicron variant of COVID-19. Eighty-six percent of exectives polled by SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) in December agreed that existing policies and procedures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace gave them confidence as omicron began spreading in the U.S. At the same time, many executives are worried about impacts to their business, with 67 percent saying they were very or extremely concerned about their organization’s ability to keep employees and customers/clients/patients safe due to omicron. “Clearly, this variant is causing significant disruptions across the economy, and business leaders must continue taking steps to protect employees and their families and retain… . . . read more.

Risk Management

Don’t write a positive reference for a problem employee; instead…

By Lynne Curry Question: After an investigation, we fired one of our employees for threatening and stalking two co-workers. He now demands a positive letter of reference, which I’m writing. I tried to appease him with an innocuous letter that gave the dates on which he’d worked here along with what his job duties were.  He refused to accept this, and frankly he scares me. Can you give me any pointers for writing a reference letter that sounds positive but not too positive? Answer: Don’t. If you write a falsely positive or even neutral reference, you can be sued for “negligent referral,” defined as “the failure of an employer to disclose complete and factual information about a former or current employee to another employer.” True story When Allstate Insurance Co…. . . . read more.

INFORMATION SECURITY

Even diligent medical offices are vulnerable to cyber crime

By Alek Pirkhalo, Infiniwiz A key to medicine is prevention and treatment.  The same is true for computer technology. Many medical offices assume that their technology is protected and secure, but even those offices that take accepted protective measures may be leaving their patient data vulnerable. As medical offices become more reliant on technology for patient portals, e-mail reminders and automated patient appointment reminders, the most vulnerable part of any medical practice is protecting are patient information. If your system goes down, you will lose vital data including patient appointments, which will create chaos for your office staff. Here is the prescription for securing data. Update your current technologies to protect log-ins Many medical offices assume that once they invested in anti-virus technology, they are protected against any malware incursions. This is… . . . read more.

Employment Law Update

Making faces doesn’t count as retaliation

By Mike O’Brien Not every negative consequence amounts to retaliation In asserting a claim for retaliation, an employee must prove he or she suffered a “materially adverse action.” But that probably doesn’t include someone “making faces” at you. In Fisher v. Bilfinger Industrial Services Inc., the employee alleged that his supervisor retaliated against him by (among other things) “making faces at him.” The First Circuit Court wasn’t impressed. The court noted that “adverse employment actions” are things like “discharges, demotions, refusals to hire, refusals to promote, and reprimands.” “Making Faces,” on the other hand, amounts to “a frivolous claim that does not implicate Title VII.” In the litigation world, we call this a “bench slap.” You can read the full decision here. More limits on non-competes . . . eventually On July… . . . read more.


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