How many of you have seriously thought that we would be living our lives the way we are approx. 6 months ago, and that a virus would place us in a position of such compromise?
As a medical practitioner and a part of our HPA group, I was humbled to be asked to elaborate on this topic for a bit. My background is akin to the orthopedic society, yet I will take a stab in somewhat of simple explanation. A sincere medical explanation would be to understand the state which we are in and why we are instructed to do the things being done.
To begin with some basics, this is a viral product as many of you have heard and not a bacterial one. It affects us like the flu and most of us now know and to put in simple terms, a more aggressive flu. This is one of the reasons many infectious disease specialists will dictate that the elderly or more immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk of morbidity. To date, if we have been keeping up with our daily dose of media input, the one common acceptance is not knowing how long or what the duration of this viral existence or pandemic will be. This is on each beings’ mind. Diseases like such have a propensity of recurrence and hence it is vital to formulate a vaccine, just like the flu vaccine which some of us may attain each fall. To put simply, we do not understand the complete nature of this organism and therefore the most basic preventative measure humans can take is to limit exposure to each other, that is why we have social distancing. To keep and stay at home if you should have a fever or flu like symptoms which initiates the so-called quarantine period. This also warrants anyone who may have been around someone who may have been diagnosed with this virus. Why 2 weeks or 14 days? Simply put, the reason for this is that it may take this much time for the symptoms of flu like or sickness to possibly develop. Hence the quarantine. With the numbers we see each day, of the spread of people afflicted with this in any given state of our nation, along with the number of deaths, we are more inclined to be cautious in heeding to advice from our medical leaders.
As you all witness, we are careful in our daily life with routine hand washing, being more observant of what we touch or grab, the demise of our hand shaking, the distance we keep to refrain from hugging as a hello, and along with foregoing the proverbial kiss on the cheek. The instructions given to us of not attending large gatherings, or crowded places, the cessation of sporting activities, schools which children becoming the source of travel for this, are all incubators for this virus to thrive. Kudos to our medical community and first responders especially in the Emergency Room who are diligently and tirelessly caring for the sick and to give support in healing them accordingly with any amenable equipment they possess to utilize.
Going forward, our concern is how long are we to live like this. It is an unknown factor that is still being worked on. One aspect that is clear is, this is causing havoc in medical care issues but more so in our economic well-being. Little did we realize how the restrictions can truly affect our income and sustainability. Unemployment due to distancing and not conducting business as usual marks places to close under government advice. A trickle down effect to each aspect of our lives from work to home to the growth of our nation. But let me shed some light on this, we have come through as a society from other epidemics and pandemics. The Spanish Flu, considered to be the most highly acclaimed disease, which most of us may or may not have learned, let alone witnessed it, has come and gone. This too shall pass. One thing I can conclude with is, we as a society need to look into ourselves as to who we are as a society, and what is our purpose of being here. This, a simple version of understanding, to all those who question a medical professional, as to what and where are we headed, is the unknown. We are all in this together and we all stand strong. Hope is our savior. Let us be optimistic for we shall remember these moments for our future to come. Ty
Large Dental Practice Provider Hacked, over 100 Dental Offices Impacted
There was two dental practice IT Providers hit in the last 2 months. CTS, like many MSP’s, offers Cybersecurity services with no indication of staff with any security expertise. Not a good idea. When the insurance providers look into if the MSP had the expertise to offer these services and practiced due care, the word is the answer is no and they are NOT covering the $450,000 ransom.
I can’t say this enough, get a risk assessment of your MSP to help make sure you’re not in the news.
A Colorado company that specializes in providing IT services to dental offices suffered a ransomware attack this week that is disrupting operations for more than 100 dentistry practices.
Multiple sources affected say their IT provider, Englewood, Colo. based Complete Technology Solutions (CTS), was hacked, allowing a potent strain of ransomware known as “Sodinokibi” or “rEvil” to be installed on computers at more than 100 dentistry businesses that rely on the company for a range of services — including network security, data backup, and voice-over-IP phone service.
Illinois Medical Director of Medicaid/Medicare, Dr. Arvind Goyal joined us for a private round table discussion on “The Most Frequently Asked Questions Practitioners have about Medicaid/Medicare Services”.
Dr. Goyal spoke of three primary goals for Illinois Medicaid. Accessibility, quality and cost control. 80% of the Medicaid recipients in Illinois have their benefit provided by a managed care organization. If a medication is approved by the FDA, Medicaid must pay for it. They can however enact preauthorization requirements as they see fit and can delay paying claims until they have determined under what clinical circumstances the medication is appropriate.
1 in 4 Illinois residents now get some form of Medicaid. Dr. Goyal explained that not accepting Medicaid is within a practice’s rights, but added “do you really want to exclude 25% of Illinois patients from seeing you?”
A managed care organization administering the Medicaid benefit is only allowed a profit margin of 15%.
To learn more please call Health Practice Advisors today at 773-733-0356
You are likely familiar with the style of telemedicine that has been available through large healthcare entities and insurance carriers. A telephone/video conversation with a physician, nurse practitioner or behavioral health professional has become a common and convenient way to diagnose and treat straight forward illnesses such as upper respiratory infections. Pay between $45 and $65 with a credit card and pick up your prescription at your preferred pharmacy.
More recently innovative IOT (Internet of Things) diagnostic devices have been developed which can be connected via Bluetooth to smart phones and computers to become powerful tools in augmenting telemedicine services. More accurately now referred to a virtual care or telehealth, this technology is becoming an increasingly important component in re-imagined models of healthcare delivery.
Blood pressure, stethoscope, blood sugar measuring devices, EKG, high definition digital camera, pulse ox, skin temperature sensors – just a few of the relatively inexpensive diagnostic aids that can increase physicians ability to observe and treat. But these same devices and many more on the horizon are also designed to monitor chronic conditions and provide real time information to patients and caregivers to warn them of impending conditions and avoid trips to the emergency room. There are even pills in development that will signal when they have been ingested.
The proven efficacy of these devices and the pressure being placed on health care organizations by value based payment models, where compensation is fixed per patient or episode, has industry experts believing that telehealth will soon be a dominant form of healthcare delivery.
CPT (procedure) codes have been recently established for both virtual evaluations and monitoring. CMS announced that these codes will be payable under Medicare advantage plans in 2020, without the previous restrictions requiring the patient be seen in a rural or underserved area. As Medicare advantage carriers are paid by CMS on a per member basis and not for each service, it is in their interest to serve their respective enrollees as efficiently as possible, causing most to believe these dynamics will cause telehealth service usage to explode, particularly in the nursing home and skilled nursing facility environments.
Integrating telehealth into an independent practice does not need to be a ground-up project. Companies such as PSC Healthcare provide a robust, cloud based telehealth platform that can be leased for less than $200 per month. Commercial carriers will follow Medicare’s lead and offer suitable reimbursement for telehealth encounters and monitoring. Precision Healthcare Consulting urges independent practices to offer these services to your patients, integrating them with your current offerings, before your patients are lured away by healthcare entities offering convenient physician interactions and continual monitoring options for chronic conditions via telehealth.
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If your doctors office is active on social media please follow these guidelines below.
HIPAA Social Media Guidelines
Listed below are some basic HIPAA social media guidelines to follow in your organization, together with links to further information to help ensure compliance with HIPAA Rules.
* Develop clear policies covering social media use and ensure all employees are aware of how HIPAA relates to social media platforms
* Train all staff on acceptable social media use as part of HIPAA training and conduct refresher training sessions annually
* Provide examples to staff on what is acceptable – and what is not – to improve understanding
* Communicate the possible penalties for social media HIPAA violations – termination, loss of license, and criminal penalties
* Ensure all new uses of social media sites are approved by your compliance department
* Review and update your policies on social media annually
* Develop policies and procedures on use of social media for marketing, including standardizing how marketing takes place on social media accounts
* Develop a policy that requires personal and corporate accounts to be totally separated
* Create a policy that requires all social media posts to be approved by your legal or compliance department prior to posting
* Monitor your organization’s social media accounts and communications and implement controls that can flag potential HIPAA violations
* Maintain a record of social media posts using your organization’s official accounts that preserves posts, edits, and the format of social media messages
* Do not enter into social media discussions with patients who have disclosed PHI on social media.
* Encourage staff to report any potential HIPAA violations
* Ensure social media accounts are included in your organization’s risk assessments
* Ensure appropriate access controls are in place to prevent unauthorized use of corporate social media accounts
* Moderate all comments on social media platforms
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has issued guidance on HIPAA social media regulations, detailing the specific aspects of HIPAA that apply to social media networks.
Have questions? Reach out to us today