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The Compliance INSIDER

2019 Tax Filing Deadline is Coming Up! Are You Ready?

2019 Tax Filing Deadline is April 15th The IRS tax filing deadline, commonly referred to as "Tax Day" in the United States is less than a week away landing on this Monday, April 15th, 2019.  Although the tax deadline is April...

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OCR Warns of Advanced Persistent Threats and Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

OCR Now Publishing Quarterly instead of Monthly Cyber-Security Newsletters In the Spring 2019 newsletter for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), it was mentioned that they have moved away from a monthly cyber-security newsletter to a...

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Did You Know April is National STD Awareness Month?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Talk. Test. Treat. campaign this month to help support communities as they raise awareness about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), also referred to as Sexually Transmitted...

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OSHA's Final Rule to Protect Privacy of Workers

The Purpose of OSHA's Final Rule is to Protect the Privacy of Workers At the beginning of each new year, HCP receives many questions regarding injury logs, usually asking whether an organization is required to submit reports to OSHA and what...

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HHS Proposes Improved Patient Access and Health Data Exchange at No Cost

HHS Proposes Improved Patient Access and Health Data Exchange at No Cost We saw the writing on the wall when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) changed the name for the EHR Incentive Program from "Meaningful Use," to...

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Focusing on Fraud, Waste and Abuse is as Important as Ever!

Focusing on Fraud, Waste and Abuse is as Important as Ever! The recent budget proposal is taking aim at alleged Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Medicare by reducing spending and increasing pre-authorizations on certain items. The budget proposes over...

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CMS Will Be Stepping Up Their Audit Efforts

CMS Will Be Stepping Up Their Audit Efforts         In a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it was revealed that even the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)...

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How to Maintain Productivity During March Madness

How to Maintain Productivity During March Madness March Madness is officially here! Do you have your picks for who will win it all? Is your favorite all-time team going to make it to the playoffs? It's that time of the year when many...

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Accepting Federal Program Dollars? Exclusion List Screening is a Must!

Accepting Federal Program Dollars? Exclusion List Screening is a Must! It could be a costly mistake for your organization to not screen against exclusions lists, especially if you're receiving federal dollars! Not only is there a risk of...

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PHI and You: The Basics You Need to Know

PHI and You: The Basics You Need to Know Protected health information (PHI) is a term often heard in the healthcare industry in relation to HIPAA laws, but what does it mean exactly? PHI, including electronic protected health information (ePHI),...

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Reminder-Breach Notification Deadline Approaching

The deadline for submitting a notice of a breach affecting fewer than 500 individuals is just around the corner. If a breach of unsecured PHI (protected health information) affects fewer than 500 individuals, a covered entity must notify the...

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A Breach Can Be a Dose of Good Medicine

Are you among the lucky healthcare providers who have never experienced a breach of Protected Health Information (PHI)?  Having gone without a breach could provide a great sense of confidence that you are running your organization in a...

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OSHA Announces Decline in Workplace Fatalities

In December 2018, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), issued a statement regarding a decline in workplace fatalities for 2017. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in...

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Common Findings in OCR's Record Year of HIPAA Enforcement

2018 ended up being a record year for HIPAA enforcement actions!  According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 10 cases were settled and one case granted summary judgment in a case before an Administrative Law Judge totaling over $28...

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Don't SRA it Alone.. We Have the Security Risk Analysis Tools to Guide You!

The last few weeks we have been educating you with our recent articles about spoofing and phishing that threaten your cyber-security!  Healthcare organizations are always going to be a target from malicious characters because of the endless...

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What is Phishing and How Common is it?

What is Phishing and How Common is it? Phishing is an attempt to acquire personal information such as usernames, passwords or financial information via impersonation or by spoofing. Despite how simple they are, phishing attacks continue to become...

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How Would You Improve HIPAA? Let OCR Know!

Reminder for Comments on Improving Care Coordination and HIPAA Rules The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), sent out a reminder for input from the public on how the Health Insurance Portability and...

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Spoof-Don't Be Tricked! How to Be Cyber Secure and Protect Yourself from Scams!

Spoofing is a serious type of scam that unfortunately happens all the time! Unsuspecting victims are tricked into confirming or releasing personal information, sending money or scammed into various fraudulent activities. Spoofing presents...

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5 Tips for Effective Time Management

"I just wish I had more time!" This is one of the most common phrases we hear from our colleagues, friends, and family members on a daily basis. Those who work in the healthcare profession can be even more prone in feeling this way....

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The OIG's Big Three for FY 2018

The recent Semiannual Report to Congress from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that summarizes the activities for the last half of the Fiscal Year (FY) had some big reveals! Including...

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MIPS 2018 Data Submission Period is Open Now Through April 2, 2019

If you are a Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinician who participated in Year 2 (2018) of the Quality Payment Program, the MIPS Data Submission Period is open. Data can be submitted and updated any time between January 2,...

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Recent Settlement Demonstrates the Importance of Termination Procedures

The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered entities and business associates to implement reasonable and appropriate safeguards for the protection of electronic protected health information (ePHI). The Workforce Security standard requires policies...

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Start the New Year Off with a Secure Password!

Password Recommendations According to NIST Guidelines   Not too long ago, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) finalized guidelines that proposed changing password security recommendations and changing some of the strong...

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CMS Final Rule Removes Certain Training Requirements in CY 2019

CMS Final Rule Removes Certain Training Requirements in CY 2019 It's that time of year again, the holiday season is dwindling down with New Year's Day approaching. In the compliance world, it is the time of year when Plan Sponsors ask...

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Common Healthcare Compliance Abbreviations

Common Healthcare Compliance Abbreviations ACO – Accountable Care Organizations are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare...

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Breaking News- The OCR of HHS issue a RFI on HIPAA Rules

Breaking News! HHS seeks public input on improving care coordination and reducing the regulatory burdens of the HIPAA Rules! Many of our clients have heard us talk and discuss possible HIPAA Rule changes in the works during site visits, in...

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HHS Reports $125,000 Settlement with Allergy Practice for Impermissible Disclosure

HHS Reports $125,000 Settlement with Allergy Practice for Impermissible Disclosure    The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement with an allergy practice totaling...

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7 Tips for Dealing with Gossip at Work

7 Tips for Dealing with Gossip at Work "psss… Hey did you hear about the latest gossip? " "No, what?!" "You haven't?" "I'm going to tell you all about it.…. just don't tell anyone you...

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Evaluation and Management Coding Changes Expected in 2019 and 2020   

Evaluation and Management Coding Changes Expected in 2019 and 2020 On July 12th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), released the Proposed Rule and made it available for comment.  There was a lot of discussion about...

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10 Key MIPS Updates for 2019

On November 1, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2019 Quality Payment Program (QPP), Final Rule. As of January 1, 2019, the changes will go into effect.  According to CMS, the updates for Year 3 are...

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$5.25 Million Dollar Settlement for Lincare Inc. Announced by the DOJ

$5.25 Million Dollar Settlement for Lincare Inc. Announced by the DOJ Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Lincare, Inc., has paid a $5.25 million dollar settlement to resolve allegations that it violated the federal...

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Happy Thanksgiving from HCP

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Being Prepared with a Disaster Plan, Regardless of Where You're Located

Being Prepared with a Disaster Recovery Plan When we talk about Disaster Recovery and Emergency Preparedness, hurricanes often come to mind first. This year was intense with the incomprehensible destruction due to Hurricane Michael and Hurricane...

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Taking Care of the To-Do's with National Clean out the Refrigerator Day and a HIPAA Walkthrough!

Taking Care of the To-Do's with National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day and a HIPAA Walkthrough! The end of the year can be quite the chaotic time, with holiday parties, shopping, and completing your end of year compliance responsibilities!...

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Why Exclusion List Screening is No Longer Just a Should Do… It's a Must Do!

Why Exclusion List Screening is No Longer Just a Should Do… It's a Must Do! In the healthcare industry, providers, professionals, and organizations are allowed some flexibility, some standards may be required while others may be...

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Breaking News! CMS Finalizes the 2019 PFS and QPP Rule

On November 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and the Quality Payment Program (QPP) rule. The final rule includes updates to coding requirements for Evaluation and Management...

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Don't Fall for the Flu… Fight the Flu!

The 2018 flu season is here and will increase throughout these upcoming colder months. How do we know what to expect this year? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is impossible to predict what this year's...

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Don't Get Frightened this Halloween, Complete your SRA Instead!

Don't Get Frightened this Halloween, Complete your Security Risk Analysis Instead! It's that time of year again, the weather is becoming colder and the holiday season is on its way!  Before you know it, we're going to be ringing...

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$16 Million Settlement – Largest Breach in History!

Largest U.S. Health Data Breach in History It was recently announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that Anthem, Inc. has agreed to pay $16 million and take substantial corrective action to...

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Candy Corn, Black Cats, Jack-o-Lanterns, Bobbing for Apples, and of course, Trick or Treat!

Halloween has been around for centuries with traditions that have been absorbed, changed, and celebrated by many different cultures. Halloween can be dated back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain-nearly 2000 years ago! Samhain was like a...

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Protecting PHI- Reduce the Risk of Malicious Actors and Other Threats

Protecting PHI- Reduce the Risk of Malicious Actors and Other Threats The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledges how essential it is for healthcare organizations to utilize electronic devices and media within their normal...

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Accessing and Disclosing Information- Are You Adhering to the Minimum Necessary Standard?

When our team of experts here at HCP are offsite visiting healthcare facilities they are often asked questions by clients about how they can ensure their employees are adhering to the minimum necessary standards when accessing and disclosing...

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Emergency Preparedness Policy Changes Proposed by CMS

Emergency Preparedness Policy Changes Proposed by CMS The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule regarding their continuing efforts to reduce regulatory burden.  As part of the rule, CMS is proposing changes to...

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OSHA Aims to Better Protect Personal Information

OSHA Aims to Better Protect Personal Information The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to better protect personal...

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Florida's State Efforts in Fighting the Opioid Epidemic in America

Florida's State Efforts in Fighting the Opioid Epidemic in America Florida is a perfect example of how at the state level, efforts are being made to address the opioid epidemic.  In Florida, a new law went into effect that limits...

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Is Your Password Protected? Our Tips For Creating Strong and Secure Passwords…

Is Your Password Protected? Our Tips For Creating Strong and Secure Passwords… When it is time to create or change your password, a strong and secure password is very important!  Your password needs to be one that would be difficult...

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Helpful Tips on Getting Started with Social Media

It can be a very exciting time deciding to begin utilizing social media for your organizations. The risks and benefits have been weighed, and it is time to get started!  When getting started there may be some questions you have.  The...

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The Disposal of Electronic Devices and Media – Without Violating HIPAA

All healthcare organizations are required to have policies and procedures in place for the secure disposal of electronic devices and media that contained electronic protected health information (ePHI). Electronic devices including but not limited...

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet…. Considerations For Using Twitter

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question! Knowing whether it be nobler in your mind to utilize social media such as Twitter or not to, is up to your organization to decide. With Twitter growing in popularity it is no wonder why so many...

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Avoiding Scammers Lurking on Social Media Platforms

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently reported that scammers were fraudulently collecting sensitive information and stealing donations by creating and using fake social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, charity websites,...

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What You Need to Know about Disaster Recovery Plans- Updated

An Update on the Destruction of Hurricane Florence Hurricane Florence has left a lot of damage along the east coast, especially the Carolina's. The eminent danger of the hurricane has passed and now it is concerns over the massive flooding...

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Why You Need to Host Quarterly Corporate Compliance Committee Meetings

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) highly encourage every healthcare organization to establish a compliance committee that advises your Compliance Officer and assists in the...

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CMS Proposes Changes to Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program

It turns out, the change from Advancing Care Information to Promoting Interoperability is part of something much bigger. So much bigger, that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement said the proposed rules issued July 12,...

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Think Safety This 4th of July

Ah, Independence Day. An annual holiday that provides an opportunity for us to have a day off work, to attend a morning parade, participate in a 5k, or other events. From there, we may get together with family and friends, have a picnic or...

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8 Tips to Reap the Rewards of Summertime in Your Organization

Ah summer! The weather is nice; the kids are out of school; and many of us take a much needed vacation. For employers and employees, there are potential obstacles to overcome, but these obstacles offer opportunities including rewards that summer...

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CMS Announces Wave 3 of Medicare Cards

New Medicare cards are currently being sent to people with Medicare who live in the following states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. These states make up...

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The Five Essential Elements of Telehealth Compliance

In an effort to reduce medication errors and harm, healthcare professionals, such as nurses, may utilize the "five rights" of medication administration: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right...

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Developing A Good "Plan B." A Contingency Plan in a Nutshell

A contingency plan should help an organization return to its daily operations as quickly as possible following an unforeseen event. The contingency plan should protect resources while minimizing inconveniences for patients, customers and the...

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Healthcare Compliance Pros Announces Partnership with HBMA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 19, 2018 Contact: Andre Williams, Executive Director Healthcare Business Management Association 202-367-1177 [email protected] Eric Christensen Healthcare Compliance Pros 801-657-4492 [email protected] Healthcare...

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What can Healthcare Facilities learn from the Florida Shooting?

Schools nationwide have been having drills intended to prepare for active shooter situations, but are the drills enough? That is a question on a lot of minds following the tragic Parkland, Florida School shooting. According to one reporter, the...

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Ransomware Attack Impacts and Allscripts Applications

On January 18, 2018 Allscripts experienced a ransomware attack that impacted their cloud based EHR and other services. At this time, Allscripts does not believe there is any reason to believe any data has been removed from their systems....

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Have You Completed Your 2017 SRA?

It's that time of year again. The weather is turning cold, the holidays are right around the corner and before you know it, we're going to be ringing in a new year. This also means you only have a few short weeks to complete your Security...

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Reminder About Correct Coding of E/M Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) issued a reminder about correct coding of Evaluation and Management (E/M) services. As part of their reminder, they mentioned a study report the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that noted 42 percent...

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Clean Out Your Refrigerator and Perform a Walkthrough

Did you know that November 15th is National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day? If a task such as cleaning out the refrigerator deserves a special day, what about a task such as performing a HIPAA walkthrough?  With 2018 less than a month away,...

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When is Your Cloud-based Phone Provider a Business Associate?

Several years ago, Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) was the most common option for communications over a telephone network. Now, there are a variety of other communications options to consider, such as cellular and Voice over IP (VoIP). While...

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Updated Compliance Date for Electronically Submitting Injury & Illness Reports

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed a delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to...

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Clearing up the Confusion regarding CMS Corporate Compliance Training

For many organizations it is difficult to know what training to take to ensure compliance with government requirements. Fraud, Waste and Abuse and Corporate Compliance training requirements are often misunderstood. The Centers for Medicare &...

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Are you aware of your State's Termination Law?

Currently, employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck immediately.  However, federal law does apply if the regular payday for the last pay period an employee worked has passed and the employee has...

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Patient Mixups a Recipe for Disaster

The patient's doctor delivered the bad news: A CT scan showed cancer.  Surprisingly, though, just two months later a biopsy failed to detect a malignancy, leading a puzzled doctor to order a second biopsy. The mystery was solved when a...

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Asking for Date of Birth at the Front Desk?

Compliance Q&A:  Can we ask a patient their date of birth at the front desk while checking them in? Law:  The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit covered entities from engaging in common and important health care practices; nor does it...

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First Settlement Involving a Wireless Health Services Provider is a Big One!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently announced the first HIPAA settlement involving a wireless health services provider, is a big one. The wireless services provider agreed to the settlement by...

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The HIPAA Dilemma: With All There Is To Do…..What Should I Do?

There are just a few requirements in the statutes, like too many to count along with various interpretations and opinions.  The Federal Government is famous for many things, but specificity is not one of them.  So maybe you got the...

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Importance of Identifying and Managing Risks

Whether your practice accesses, creates, modifies, or stores electronic protected health information (ePHI) you must do everything possible to reduce, and eliminate as much as possible, any risks to that information. For one entity, a recent...

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CYA to Prevent CIA

At first when you read CIA in the title of this article, you may have asked yourself why in the world we would write about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). And you may be wondering why you would need to cover your assets (CYA) from the CIA...

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Smartphones and Healthcare : What's the Rule on Recording?

Smartphone usage is not only becoming more common but the variety of medical aid tools available to consumers on their smartphones continues to grow each year. Roughly 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Smartphone applications have...

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Top 5 Reasons Why Healthcare Organizations Are Not HIPAA Compliant

Given that HIPAA was first enacted in 1996, healthcare professionals have had 21 years to perfectly design, implement, and execute compliance plans.  However, the reality for most organizations is that HIPAA compliance is still a work in...

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First HIPAA settlement based on untimely reporting involved hard copy PHI

Occasionally we answer questions regarding what constitutes a reportable breach. Questions such as: Isn't it only a reportable breach if the incident involves electronic protected health information (ePHI)? What about paper? Should these...

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Malware Infection Results in a $650,000 Settlement

Just recently it was announced that a potential HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rules violation lead a major organization to pay a sustainable fee, $650,000. The breach was reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Office...

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Entities Subject to NICS Disclosures under the Final Rule

Because we are expecting further clarification from HHS regarding this modification to the final rule to be released,  this initial summary will only focus on facts taken from the final rule regarding "Entities Subject to the...

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Website tip of the month – December

If you are searching for any forms or documents to help manage your office or support your compliance program, look no further than your HCP compliance website. Our "Forms Section" contains hundreds of compliance and support documents...

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Don't Forget: Today is the IRS Tax Filing Deadline

This is just a quick reminder that today is April 15, 2015 – the IRS tax filing deadline – commonly referred to as "Tax Day" in the United States.  Although taxes are due by April 15th, you have an option to request a...

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Security Risk Analysis 101 – What you need to know to protect your practice

Join HCP's Eric Christensen for an AAOE hosted webinar on March 12th at 12:00pm (EST) Every healthcare organization, which maintains Protected Health Information (PHI), must be able to demonstrate that they have taken steps to analyze...

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Medical Assistant Credentialing Requirements for Your Client Practices

Join HCP's Eric Christensen for a NSCHBC hosted webinar on March 5th at 1:30pm (EST) Learn the Medical Assistant Credentialing requirements and how they apply to your client practices. Tools and solutions will be shared with...

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Question about providing an electronic copy of a medical record

Recently a question was asked about providing a patient medical record in electronic format: If you store patient information in your systems electronically, should a copy of the medical record be provided to the patient in electronic format and...

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13 Tips, Tools and Topics to be Thankful for

For many of us in the United States, the holidays kick off this week with Thanksgiving. Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, we gather for a day of giving thanks, family, feasting, and football. Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks of...

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Question about Annual Training Requirements

We are often asked questions about training requirements. This week we were asked the following question by Connie in Utah: Why should we train every year? HIPAA Training Requirements The HIPAA privacy and security rules require formal education...

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Question about Workers' Compensation Records

Occasionally we are asked questions about workers' compensation records. Just last week, we responded to the following question by Rick W. in Texas: What do you have to disclose to an employer who wants records from one of its employees who...

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Healthcare ID Theft First Aid Kit

Taxpayer identity theft came to the forefront during the 2013 tax year filing season.  Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number or other identifying information, without your...

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