$5.5 Million Breach Settlement: Second Largest Fine to Date

April 17th, 2017

Last month, Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) agreed to implement a comprehensive corrective action plan and pay a 5.5-million-dollar settlement for the breach of protected health information (PHI) that affected over 100,000 individuals. This is the second largest fine against a covered entity to date, sending a strong message that audit controls will be a key focus for the future. (1)

HIPAA Audits of Covered Entities and Business Associates

April 3rd, 2017

In August, Advocate Health Care Network agreed to pay a $5.55 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), for multiple HIPAA violations. In addition, HHS also recently announced a $650,000 resolution settlement against the Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Tips for Reducing Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens and Other Infectious Diseases

February 22nd, 2017

Healthcare workers are often at risk for exposure to hazards such as bloodborne pathogens, harmful chemicals, and infectious diseases. The number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in healthcare workers is among the highest of any industry. Though it is impossible to prevent all exposures to hazards, with the proper safety precautions healthcare workers can help to reduce the risk.

Four Ways Technology is Helping to Improve Patient Safety

February 9th, 2017

Technology has become an integral part of medicine today. The right technology can assist with increased efficiency, improved quality, and reduced costs. Some of the many advantages technology can provide include the facilitation of communication between clinicians, improving medication safety, reducing potential medical errors, increasing access to medical information, and encouraging patient-centered care. The following are just a few ways technology is helping to improve patient safety:

OSHA Final Rule for Tracking Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

December 1st, 2016

To prevent work-related injuries and illness, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to record work-related injuries and illnesses in an “OSHA log.” OSHA is now issuing a new rule which requires certain employers to submit injury and illness data electronically, effective January 1, 2017.

HIPAA Audits of Covered Entities and Business Associates

November 15th, 2016

In August, Advocate Health Care Network agreed to pay a $5.55 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), for multiple HIPAA violations. In addition, HHS also recently announced a $650,000 resolution settlement against the Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The Final 5 - MACRA Rule

October 31st, 2016

Five Facts to Know about the Final MACRA Rule

The Basics on Business Associates and Contract Agreements

October 24th, 2016

What is a Business Associate?

Business associates are considered any third-party contractor that performs work or activities on behalf of a healthcare organization or covered entity that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information (1).

Curiosity Has Its Cost

October 11th, 2016

In June, the victims of the horrific Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub were also victims of a privacy breach when their personal health information was accessed without authorization by a few curious employees at Orlando Health Hospital. The hospital confirmed that employees have previously received HIPAA training on patient privacy. However, they are now retraining staff and increasing auditing and monitoring of patient records in response to the breach. Experts say the hospital could be responsible for penalties up to $100,000 depending on the severity. A high price for personal curiosity.

HIPAA Section 1557 Language Access Requirements

September 27th, 2016

Section 1557 is the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that protects individuals from discrimination in health care based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex; including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping.

Formaldehyde: Is Your Healthcare Facility Prepared?

September 14th, 2016

The failure to properly train employees on hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde is the second most frequently cited violation in healthcare facilities across the US. In fact, fines as much as $112,000 have been issued by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to healthcare facilities for the failure to provide employees with the proper formaldehyde training and monitoring.

The Stark Basics for Medical Practices

August 31st, 2016

The Stark Law can be a source of confusion for a lot of medical practices and rightfully so. It was enacted in 1989, but has since been expanded upon and revised several times, with additional phases added much later.

OSHA Implements a 78% Increase in Penalties- Is Your Office Compliant?

August 23rd, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just issued new penalty adjustments that will go into effect this month, based on recent legislation that requires federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. It has been more than 25 years since OSHA last adjusted their maximum penalties, therefor an increase of 78% will be implemented. Moving forward, penalties will be adjusted each year for inflation. Now more than ever, it is imperative for medical offices to be proactive to ensure their compliance.

The MACRA Basics

August 2nd, 2016

What is MACRA?

The “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” or “MACRA,” was signed into law on April 16, 2015. The legislation replaces the current Medicare reimbursement schedule which is based on a fee-for-service model with a new pay-for-performance program that is focused on quality, value, and accountability.

OCR Releases New HIPAA Guidance on Ransomware

July 22nd, 2016

​In 2015, Ransomware cost the US Healthcare industry nearly 6 billion dollars. Even more concerning is that there has been a 300% increase in ransomware attacks in 2016, according to a recent report from the U.S. Government.

5 Safety Tips for Medical and Dental Offices

July 11th, 2016

A Patient’s Right to Access Medical Records

June 15th, 2016

Most medical practices, healthcare organizations, and clinicians are very familiar with HIPAA rules and regulation. However, the law can be extensively complicated and is often a source of confusion and misinterpretation. According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), one of the most common complaints and frequently misunderstood parts of the law involves a patient’s right to access their personal medical records.

Keeping Your Patients Medical Data Safe

May 17th, 2016

Cyber criminals and hackers are targeting the healthcare industry at staggering rates, and huge profits are being made on the black market from patient’s PHI (personal healthcare information). PHI is said to be ten times more valuable than credit card information because it contains highly sensitive data such as social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card information, telephone numbers, Medicare numbers, and prescriptions.

ICD-10 Update - The Calm Before The Storm?

April 25th, 2016

The transition to ICD-10 has come and gone and the final metrics were posted by CMS last month. Thus far, the shift has been seemingly smoother than most had expected. Making many wonder what all the hype was about, while others remain skeptical.

Healthcare Falls Victim to Ransomware

April 5th, 2016

Hospitals, patients, and government officials are on edge across the US as a series of ransomware attacks hit the healthcare industry by storm. Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks computer systems to prevent access to data until the user pays a ransom, which is usually demanded in Bitcoin. This type of malicious software has been around since the early 80’s but only recently has it made headlines due to the attacks targeting hospitals and healthcare facilities.

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