A Practical Guide to Telehealth during the Pandemic and Beyond

A Practical Guide to Telehealth during the Pandemic and Beyond

President Donald Trump announced a dramatic expansion of covered Telehealth services last week for Medicare recipients. So what does that mean for you as Healthcare providers and for Medicare patients? In the decades that Telemedicine has been in existence, there has been the introduction of more technology for various specialties to participate in this ever-growing sector. Many healthcare facilities have been poised to offer Telehealth services for medical specialties such as Cardiology, Genetic counseling, Dermatology, Oncology, Obstetrics, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Endocrinology, and even dental care. In fact, over 80% of hospitals nationwide are already set up with some form of Telehealth services. Radiology departments nationwide routinely use a form of Telehealth because often the...

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Educational Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Educational Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The World Health Organization just declared the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. "This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, with cases passing 115,000 worldwide," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. With the outbreak of Coronavirus taking hold in the United States, colleges from coast to coast are scrambling to ramp up remote learning alternatives for their students. It’s not only time to react, it’s smart to react.  Spread of COVID-19 coronavirus is in the U.S. with over 750 cases and 31 deaths as of Tuesday, March 10th. The Department of Education issued guidance for colleges to implement distance learning, while the Centers for Disease Control released an outline for schools to prevent the spread of disease.  You don’t have to look far...

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Compliance isn’t Cybersecurity

Compliance isn’t Cybersecurity

During a risk analysis and compliant review, I showed a distraught CEO that she had over $ 5.8 million in regulated data on an unencrypted desktop computer, that wasn’t backed up, with a user password set to never expire. It hit close to home, because the data included the Social Security Numbers of the entire staff, including hers. She asked me, “Why aren’t our people following our policies?!” Simply put, the organization prioritized compliance policies over validating cybersecurity and assumed- incorrectly – that cybersecurity would automatically follow. The leadership team thought their written encryption policy meant that all sensitive and regulated data would automatically be stored on encrypted devices. They thought their password policies meant that their IT department...

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Searching for the MIPS ROI: Is Perfect the Enemy of Good?

Searching for the MIPS ROI: Is Perfect the Enemy of Good?

As someone who’s spent the better part of a decade consulting on quality programs with healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties, I find it’s rare to meet a doctor or practice administrator who is genuinely happy about all the changes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has brought to their organizations. However, the frustration level I’ve been hearing from them lately feels different than just a general resistance to change. For many, despite their best efforts to keep in line with government requirements, align staff, technology, and financial resources to overcome the hurdles of changing workflows, new software systems, etc., they seem to struggle with the cost/benefit analysis and are legitimately questioning whether it’s worth it to put so many resources into a...

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Combating Systemic Medicare and Medicaid Fraud

While researching the new 4MedPlus CMS Fraud, Waste and Abuse compliance course, I spent a good deal of time reading through case studies on this informative and disturbing FBI website: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/health-care-fraud/health-care-fraud-news. When I started this project, I didn’t even realize this web page existed and now I am a weekly visitor. I am sincerely fascinated at the brazen attempts by so many, to steal from medical providers and patients. In the first half of December alone, there were eight major cases listed, resulting in fines, suspensions and incarceration. It was one of these recent stories that really shocked me. The perpetrators were sentenced to prison (rightfully so) for their participation in a $30 million scheme to defraud...

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MIPS 2020 Final Rule: What you need to know in Easy-to-Read Bullets!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Calendar Year (CY) 2020 FINAL Rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). The MPFS dictates Medicare rates and policies under Part B, while the Quality Payment Program (QPP) implements two key value-based payment programs: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs). The proposal is very long at over 1700 pages! Since the team at Chirpybird Health IT Consulting are the experts of the MIPS Quality Payment Program we are bringing you the MIPS highlights to you section-by-section segments and give you the most pertinent bullets! Overview: The threshold to avoid a penalty is changing. The performance threshold is rising from 30 points to 45! Eligibility requirements remain...

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Before the Ransomware Damage is Done

How a single ransomware attack destroyed a thriving medical business and how to avoid it happening to you or your clients. I was sitting at a local breakfast spot near my home in Michigan one recent morning with a friend. I was discussing my work (online training for compliance and security in healthcare), when a neighbor leaned in to say she overheard me and wanted to share a story she thought I might be interested in. Apparently, a medical practice that did quite well in the Battle Creek area, experienced a data breach which locked down all of their patient records and accompanying files. Shortly thereafter they received a “ransom” message requiring them to pay $6500 for the key to unlock those files. Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common in healthcare. The payload is a...

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STOP SUPERBUGS AND HAIs WITH STRATEGIC INFECTION PREVENTION

Create a Culture of Healthcare Site Compliance in 5 Simple Steps The recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) report on Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States (2019 AR Threats Report) includes the latest national death and infection estimates that underscore the growing risk of antibiotic resistance in the US. According to the report, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections (superbugs) occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, more than 200,000 cases of Clostridioides difficile (C-diff) were tracked in 2017 with over 12,000 deaths. Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. has stated that the CDC soon plans to support Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs in all 50 states. Clinical practitioners are tasked with...

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The Many Forms of HIPAA Enforcement

How is HIPAA enforced? That may be a simple enough question, but it also contains more nuance than may initially be expected. Determining how HIPAA is enforced can depend upon how the term enforcement is viewed and interpreted. The first step is to define enforcement. The dictionary definition of enforcement includes the following statements: (i) to give force to, (ii) to urge with energy, (iii) constrain, compel, (iv) to effect or gain by force, or (v) to carry out effectively. Looking at the definition comprehensively, enforcement is a means of compelling compliance with a concept or requiring another to follow a particular thing (in this case law and regulations). Enforcement by its nature is arguably imposing a non-voluntary action or requirement onto a person through some outside...

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Does Your Breach Response Plan Include Notification?

Remain Calm, Remain Honest – and Remain in Business Avoiding the inevitable does not make it go away. Healthcare patients choose a provider based on the quality of care. In addition to that, the public will generally assume that their private information is safeguarded and not something that they need to verify or investigate before choosing that specific provider. By alerting them to something they assumed to be a non-issue, it is understandable to be concerned about the loss of business. However, credit reporting agency Experian has recently found that this churn can be kept to a minimum with the proper response plan. In July 2019, Experian surveyed 1,000 adults in the United States and found that 90% of those surveyed would be somewhat forgiving if they were informed promptly as a...

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