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TECHNOLOGY

Is your practice eligible for Medicaid incentive payments?

Certain professionals can alternatively pursue meaningful use incentive payments from the Medicaid program, which is run by the state Medicaid agencies.
Eligible professionals for Medicaid include doctors of medicine and osteopathy, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, dentists, and physician assistants in a federally qualified health center or rural health clinic led by a physician assistant. Some states allow optometrists to participate.
The professional must have 30% Medicaid patient volume (20% Medicaid volume for a pediatrician) or predominantly practice in federally qualified health center or rural health clinic and have a minimum of 30% patient volume of…

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COMPLIANCE

CQM reporting and HIPAA

One reader questioned whether reporting CQMs using the Physician Quality Reporting System and reporting patient level data in the Quality Reporting Data Architecture (QRDA) format would require sending protected health information to CMS in violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
The QRDA format does require some identifying information.
However, Paula Stannard, a health care attorney at Alston & Bird in Washington, D.C., and a former HHS deputy general counsel and acting general counsel, doesn’t believe such reporting of CQMs that include PHI would be a violation of the Privacy Rule. She indicates it is likely that such reporting…

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TECHNOLOGY

‘Meaningful use’ can safeguard big money for your practice

Have you been participating in Medicare’s or Medicaid’s electronic health records incentive program? If not, you are leaving money on the table—or in the government’s bank. Incentive payments still available could total up to $24,000. But that’s not all you’re missing by not achieving meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHR) technology (CEHRT).
“Starting in 2015, if you participate in Medicare you face the possibility of having your Medicare payments reduced with a negative payment adjustment if…

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INCREASING PROFITS

Model Tool: Meaningful Use resources

Why you need this list:

Getting certified electronic records technology can help your practice retain profits.

HIRING

Can you and should you use Facebook to screen job applicants?

“We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their Facebook passwords (for pre-hiring background checking) because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
Facebook (statement on company’s website)
Facebook’s statement has set off a firestorm of controversy and misinformation. The popular consensus seems to be that the employer’s practice of demanding Facebook passwords from job applicants is morally “wrong” and “illegal.” We’re not qualified to…

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HIPAA

Government issues NEW resources to help ensure safety of electronic health records

Continuing to encourage the use of electronic health records, on January 15, 2014, HHS issued new resources to help providers address Electronic Health Record safety. HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides.
These SAFER Guides are tools such as checklists and recommended practices that can help providers assess risks and improve safety of electronic health records. The Guides are part of HHS’s Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, implemented last year…

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MANAGING THE OFFICE

Editor watches staggering changes in medical office management

By Susan Crawford
Founding Editor
Dear Readers:
Medical Office Manager’s first issue came out in November 1987. And now after 26 years as your editor, I have retired.
This is a good time to look at the issues and conundrums you as manager have faced during all that time and to congratulate you on a job well done.
The changes have been staggering. You have kept up with them all…

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COMPLIANCE

The 3 keys to better HIPAA compliance: risk assessment, training, revised notice

Three HIPAA items need every manager’s immediate attention. They are:
  • Risk Analysis;
  • documentation of HIPAA training; and
  • a revised Notice of Privacy.
HIPAA’s enforcer is the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and it’s taking the job seriously, says Nathan A. Kottkamp, a health care attorney with McGuireWoods in Richmond, VA. When the OCR comes to call, it will ask to see the office’s policies and procedures for privacy and security. And then it will home in on the risk assessment, the training, and the revised privacy notice. Here are the requirements for each item…

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BILLING AND COLLECTIONS

Don’t let the office get caught in Medicare’s pay cuts

e-scripting, EHRs, and value modifiers
Medicare has been offering a lot of incentives for technology use and quality measures. But those same incentives have their dark side – payment cuts for noncompliance.
Here are the three cuts to be dodging right now. And along with them is the unavoidable 2% cut brought about by sequestration.
#1: the 2% cut on e-scripting
Most imminent is the cut that gets a yes or a no on…

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RISK MANAGEMENT

HIPAA is now striking small offices; the first hit is on mobile devices

HIPAA, which has traditionally focused its attention on larger entities, is now closing in on smaller organizations and smaller violations.
A hospice in Idaho has been fined $50,000 for a security breach of its electronic health information. This is the first time HIPAA has gone after a breach affecting fewer than 500 patients, and the government says the fine is “a strong message” that HIPAA-covered entities, no matter how small, “will be held accountable for safeguarding their patients’ health information.”
The action was taken against Hospice of North Idaho in Hayden, ID, which had …

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