Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Discussing Pay at the Office

Many employers restrict their employees from conversations about pay at the office, but is this legal?

It is a common practice in many companies for the employee policy manual to contain some verbiage about not discussing compensation and pay with other employees. This policy is easily agreed to by the employees and thus the company has achieved its goal of keeping the often times illegal practice of pay secrecy in place.

Is Pay Secrecy Illegal?

In 1935, Congress passed a law entitled, the National Labor Relations Act or the “Wagner Act”. Under this act, private-sector employees have the right to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” For this reason, restricting private-sector employees from discussing their compensation with one another is illegal. There is a limit as to who can discuss pay with other employees. Supervisors, for example, would not be considered an “employee” and therefore they can be prohibited from discussing pay. In addition, employees who have access to a company’s payroll could also be prohibited from sharing other employee’s private salary information.


Why is the Wagner Act in Place?



It was the purpose of the Wagner Act to protect employees against unfair pay practices. Giving the employees the freedom to discuss their compensation does a lot to help avoid unfair pay practices and puts pressure on a company to ensure pay-for-value (pay based on experience, education, skills, and the assigned responsibilities of the job) is in place. If an organization has a pay-for-value system in place, then they would not be afraid of employees discussing their compensation with each other. It is when a company has something to hide within their pay practices that problems arise when pay is discussed.

Employers Who Violate This Law

Employers who violate this law could have repercussions that would range anywhere from a wrongfully terminated lawsuit to the possible loss of federal contracts.

If an employee has been wrongfully fired for discussing their pay, they are may contact the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and file a complaint. The NLRB may begin an investigation into the matter regarding their former employer.

In most cases, pay secrecy is against the law. Employer should have a pay-for-value system in place and avoid any possible penalties for violating the Wagner Act.




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Friday, September 8, 2017

NAVIGATING THE STORM: HIPAA COMPLIANCE AND PREPARING FOR IRMA

NAVIGATING THE STORM: HIPAA COMPLIANCE AND PREPARING FOR IRMA
As Hurricane Irma approaches, hospitals, medical professionals and emergency medical personnel in the path of the storm are actively preparing for the storm’s arrival.  Making sure that health information is available before, during and after the storm is a critical part of that preparation. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) wants to make sure medical professionals and emergency personnel understand when the HIPAA regulations may apply to them – and when those regulations apply, how they can share individually identifiable (protected) health information (PHI) during emergency situations. The Privacy Rule is carefully designed to protect the privacy of health information, while allowing important health care communications to occur.  The HIPAA Security Rule’s requirements with respect to contingency planning also help HIPAA covered entities and business associates assure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic PHI (ePHI) during an emergency such as a natural disaster.   
Planning
OCR makes available on its website an interactive decision tool designed to assist emergency preparedness and recovery planners in determining how to gain access to and use PHI consistent with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The tool guides the user through a series of questions to find out how the Privacy Rule would apply in specific situations.  By helping users focus on key Privacy Rule issues, the tool helps users appropriately obtain health information for their public safety activities. The tool is designed for covered entities as well as emergency preparedness and recovery planners at the local, state and federal levels. To utilize the Disclosures for Emergency Preparedness Decision Tool, click here.
Covered entities and business associates should also look to recent guidance issued during Hurricane Harvey for more information on how the HIPAA Privacy permits sharing of PHI in circumstances that arise during natural disasters.  https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hurricane-harvey-hipaa-bulletin.pdf
Security
The HIPAA Security Rule is not suspended during natural disasters or emergencies and specifically requires covered entities and business associates to implement strategies to protect ePHI during an emergency and assure ePHI can be accessed during and after an emergency.  https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/2005/is-the-security-rule-under-hipaa-suspended-during-a-public-health-emergency/index.html

 In particular, covered entities and business associates must have contingency plans that include or address the following elements: 

1) Data backup plan (required);

2) Disaster recovery plan (required);

3) Emergency mode operation plan (required); 4) testing and revision procedures (addressable); and 5) application and data criticality analysis (addressable).   

For further information, please see:

Please also view the Civil Rights Emergency Preparedness page to learn how nondiscrimination laws apply during an emergency.
 HCSI


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Where Is Your PHI Data Traveling Today?

Understanding "The Cloud" and it's regulatory relationship with HIPAA and PHI.

With most vendors offering and pushing cloud computing solutions and offsite data backup, or guaranteeing offsite backup of data they process for you, many HIPAA covered entities (CEs) and business associates (BAs) are questioning whether and how they can take advantage of cloud computing while complying with regulations protecting the privacy and security of electronic protected health information (ePHI). 

What "Cloud" computing means is that instead of all the computer hardware and software you're using sitting on your desktop, or somewhere inside your company's network, it's provided for you as a service by another company and accessed over the Internet, usually in a completely seamless way. Exactly where the hardware and software is located and how it all works doesn't matter to you, the user -- it's just somewhere up in the nebulous "cloud" that the Internet represents. 

The business decision to "move to the cloud" is often financially motivated. Companies used to have to buy their own hardware equipment, the value of which depreciated over time. But now with the cloud, companies only have to pay for what they use. This model makes it easy to quickly scale use up or down and to have data backed up for you as part of that provided service.

The rise of offshore IT services, including distributed storage, by cloud data providers creates issues that most healthcare providers have not yet realized. Even if some of the issues are realized, many covered entities and their business associates do not know where their data is currently being processed, stored, or backed up. In fact, storage or processing of protected health information (PHI) overseas may or may not be permitted or at least require additional resources, such as additional or more detailed risk assessments.

There are currently no federal regulations or statutes that prevent storing or processing PHI offshore or overseas; however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the HHS, have all issued regulations or provided guidance that restrict storing or processing PHI offshore. In addition, there are four states that ban any Medicaid data from being stored or processed overseas (Arizona, Alaska, Ohio and Wisconsin), two more that only allow offshore contracts under extremely limited circumstances, and nine more that have specific requirements that must be met before any offshore processing or storage of Medicaid data is allowed. 

Even if a healthcare provider is not located in one of the above states, if the provider has treated a patient of those states, state regulators may argue that the healthcare provider must comply with their laws, regulations, and guidance, as applied to the resident of their state. Even more concerning is that even though Delaware does not have any laws or statutes banning offshore processing or data storage, Delaware recently started adding provisions to all of their contracts (similar to Wisconsin) that the State (Delaware) will not permit project work to be done offshore. There may be additional states adding these prohibitions to their contracts in the future.
If extra regulatory burden and potential state law bans were not enough by themselves, any PHI stored offshore likely will be subject to local law of the country in which it is stored. Furthermore, these local laws may allow for actions or even access to the data that directly conflicts with requirements on healthcare providers under HIPAA/HITECH, even if the vendor signed a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Due to the issues in enforcing HIPAA and HITECH, and even a BAA against an overseas vendor, HHS has basically stated that it is the duty of the healthcare provider or vendor for deciding how to vet data services vendors and comply with expected additional requirements when conducting a risk assessment on overseas providers. 
At this point, most healthcare providers question if any offshore or offsite data storage or processing is worth any potential cost savings, or if OCR has any further guidance. In the fall of 2016, OCR prepared guidance that explained how federal health information privacy and data security rules apply to cloud services. In summary, this guidance helped data service companies, but at the expense of covered entities by primarily placing the burden on the covered entities, specifically hospitals, insurers, doctors, and other healthcare providers.

In looking at data service vendors, OCR decided that data service subcontractors of the covered entities’ business associates are actually business associations of the business associates. According to the OCR, covered entities must assess the cloud services providers’ or offshore providers’ data security efforts, but HIPAA does not require the cloud services providers to allow covered entities audit them. As such, covered entities are required to determine how well a cloud services provider handles system reliability, data security, and data backup and recovery, without the ability to perform an audit. While this is problematic when dealing with domestic cloud service providers, it creates additional issues when dealing with overseas cloud service providers. 
While OCR allows use of overseas providers, as of right now the rules of HIPAA and HITECH fail to address any international aspects, leaving no requirements but also no protections for covered entities. If you select a domestic provider, the laws and regulations regarding PHI apply to both parties, but if an overseas provider is selected, HIPAA and HITECH will not apply, unless they contractually agreed to comply with such laws and regulations. If there is a breach and the overseas provider refuses to defend against or pay any fines or fees levied related to the breach, the covered entity may be liable for paying. It is also important to note that while an international provider may agree to sign a BAA, many international providers do not understand the requirements of HIPAA and HITECH, while most domestic providers have a greater understanding.
Even if you know where the company with whom you are contracting is located, do you know where they send the backup data? Do they send data for processing or backup to other agents, subcontractors, vendors, or other data providers overseas? You may not realize your data is regularly taking international trips, and may be better traveled than you are. In addition, if a relationship is terminated with an international provider, how will you ensure that the data is wiped from the system? Healthcare providers generally must require a certificate of destruction when terminating data services, and will you be able to comply with this provision with an offshore provider?
In contracting with cloud service providers, including backup providers, e-mail providers, and other processing entities, covered entities and their business associates must determine where their data is located, and if it is offshore, they must analyze if any of the information is prohibited from being exported by any state or local regulations. If not, next it must be determined if there is an extra compliance burden associated with the data being offshore, and if that extra compliance burden and the associated risk of being offshore are worth any cost savings by using the offshore provider. If an entity knows that some of its data may be banned from being exported overseas, or would raise too much risk or compliance burden, then language banning such exports should be placed in the agreements, including any BAAs. 
 HCSI

Used with permission from: Craig A. Phillips council member of Dickinson Wright
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Friday, August 25, 2017

Preparing Your Practice For Emergencies and Disasters: The Risk Assesment

A crucial step in preparedness for your practice in the even of a emergency or disaster is a Risk Assessment. 
A risk assessment is a process to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs. A business impact analysis (BIA) is the process for determining the potential impacts resulting from the interruption of time sensitive or critical business processes.

As an employer, make sure your workplace has a building evacuation plan that is regularly practiced. The preparedness program is built on a foundation of management leadership, commitment and financial support. Without management commitment and financial support, it will be difficult to build the program, maintain resources and keep the program up-to-date.
Implementation
Write a preparedness plan addressing:
  • Resource management
  • Emergency response
  • Crisis communications
  • Business continuity
  • Information technology
  • Records Managment
  • Employee assistance
  • Incident management
  • Training
Find more information on Implementation here.
Testing And Exercises
  • Test and evaluate your plan
  • Define different types of exercises
  • Learn how to conduct exercises
  • Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan
Find more information on Testing and Exercises here.
Program Improvement
  • Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
  • Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
  • Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements
Find more information on Program Improvement here.
Visit the Deparment of Homeland Securities Business site for more information.
  • Take a critical look at your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to determine if it is secure or if it could feasibly be upgraded to better filter potential contaminants, and be sure you know how to turn it off if you need to.
  • Think about what to do if your employees can't go home.
  • Make sure you have appropriate supplies on hand.
  • Read more at Build a Kit and Staying Put.
There are numerous hazards to consider. For each hazard there are many possible scenarios that could unfold depending on timing, magnitude and location of the hazard. Consider hurricanes for an example. A Hurricane forecast to make landfall near your business could change direction and go out to sea. The storm could intensify into a major hurricane and make landfall.

There are many “assets” at risk from hazards. First and foremost, injuries to people should be the first consideration of the risk assessment. Hazard scenarios that could cause significant injuries should be highlighted to ensure that appropriate emergency plans are in place. Many other physical assets may be at risk. These include buildings, information technology, utility systems, machinery, raw materials and patient records. The potential for environmental impact should also be considered. Consider the impact an incident could have on your relationships with customers, the surrounding community and other stakeholders. Consider situations that would cause patients to lose confidence in your organization and its services or protection of vital records.
As you conduct the risk assessment, look for vulnerabilities—weaknesses—that would make an asset more susceptible to damage from a hazard. Vulnerabilities include deficiencies in building construction, process systems, security, protection systems and loss prevention programs. They contribute to the severity of damage when an incident occurs. For example, a building without a fire sprinkler system could burn to the ground while a building with a properly designed, installed and maintained fire sprinkler system would suffer limited fire damage.
The impacts from hazards can be reduced by investing in mitigation. If there is a potential for significant impacts, then creating a mitigation strategy should be a high priority.
Risk Assesment process diagram
Use the FEMA Risk Assessment Tool to complete your risk assessment. Instructions are provided on the form.

Please also request the supplementary and supportive HCSI HIPPA Security Risk Analysis health checkup checklist to coincide with your office risk assessment or by clicking here HCSI Support - Risk Anlysis or entering your email address in the top right side of the blog.
 HCSI
Source(s): http://www.hcsiinc.com, https://www.ready.gov/, http://www.fema.gov/

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Six Ways to Improve Data Security at Your Practice

A married couple — both doctors who shared a medical practice — almost divorced over a HIPAA breach that blindsided them when a patient called to say that her medical records appeared in a Google search and she was filing a lawsuit.

The orthopedist of a small practice didn’t want to fund the cost of an IT service provider to make sure his network was secure.  Instead the doctor hired his cousin who earned his IT stripes fixing performance problems on his own laptop.  Unfortunately, the family member never updated the practice’s malware software and patient data ended up on a rogue server.  Now it’s being held for ransom. 

The Smaller the Practice the Less the Compliance

For medical practices with 20 or less employees, doctors are often reluctant to spend money on HIPAA security than larger practices.  Importantly, the latter will have a compliance officer who makes sure HIPAA rules are followed, employees are trained, and policies and procedures are up to date. 

Doctors running small practices don’t believe they’re at risk for a data breach so they ignore the same steps taken by the compliance officer.  Meanwhile, it’s ordinary human errors that could take down the practice.  An employee leaves his tablet in a taxi or thieves break into the office and steal two laptops that contain patient records.  Or the doctor loses his laptop and keeps it under wraps since he thinks he hasn’t stored any patient records on it, so no one needs to know.  However, a disgruntled employee who was terminated gets revenge by reporting the practice to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR).  The OCR accuses the practice of having a breach and hiding it, and calls for an investigation. 

These are all real world events that have sent medical practices into a tailspin.  Doctors call a HIPAA compliance expert in a panic because they’re now caught in the web of the OCR and scrambling to prepare for an audit.  Worse yet, these compliance risks were right under their noses.

The Practice Needs As Much Care As the Patients

The risk of a data breach can be as life threatening to the practice that doesn’t protect its data, as the risk of lung cancer is for the patient who chain smokes.  Think of a data breach as a disease and the stolen laptop causing pain and suffering, and eventual death, which could all be prevented.  Doctors should think about data breach prevention and care for their businesses with the same commitment to disease prevention and care for their patients. 

When a practice fails to perform a security risk assessment or ensure that his employees used strong passwords, not long after he is convincing OCR auditors that the breach was an accident.  He has to hire attorneys to complete the audit and there is no budget left to invest in more network security, or cyber insurance. 

HIPAA Compliance Made Easy for Small Practices

There are some simple steps small practices can take that will take far less time than preparing for an OCR audit:

- Perform a security risk analysis — Analyze how patient information is currently protected. How often does the practice perform data backups? Is there a termination procedure when an employee leaves? Do employees have the minimum level of access to patient information? Are all portable devices encrypted?  Are medical records protected in case of fire or flood, or lost or stolen laptops that contain patient information?

- Train employees — Make sure they know how to spot phishing scams and suspicious links in emails, recognize fraudulent “IT experts” who call in to upgrade an operating system.  They should also know to avoid conducting business on public Wifi, and minimize sharing on social networks.

- Inventory patient information — Locate where all patient information is stored. It could be an EHR or a word document in the form of patient letters, or excel spreadsheets as billing reports or scanned images of your insurance carrier’s explanation of benefits (EOB).  This information resides on desktops, laptops and mobile devices, and should be encrypted.

- Employee data theft — Employee theft of information is one of the leading causes of HIPAA breaches in small organizations.  An employee steals patient information and opens a charge account at a local department store.  The patient finds out and sues the practice for not protecting her electronic protected health information (ePHI).  Employees should have minimal access to EHRs — only the information they need to perform their duties.   Also data logs should be checked.

- Breach Response Plan — Is there a response plan in place in case a breach does occur? The plan should include who will be on the response team, what actions the team will take to address the breach, and what steps they’ll take to prevent another similar breach from occurring. Make sure the plan is documented and all employees are trained on what they need to do.

These few actions can make the difference between being sued by patients for a data breach and gaining their confidence that their doctor cares as much about their health as he does for their security.

Source(s): https://www.hcsiinc.comhttp://www.physicianspractice.com

For more information on this and other healthcare compliance topics related to HIPAA, OSHA, Medicare and HR, simply email your questions to support@hcsiinc.com
visit our website at http://www.hcsiinc.com or post a question on our LinkedIn group at: http://bit.ly/1FWmtq6

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

HHS Launches New Video Training Module for HIPAA Patient Right to Access


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it has a new video training module for health care providers.

According to HHS, the new training module provides an “in-depth review of the components of the HIPAA right of access and ways in which it enables individuals to be more involved in their own care.” The training module provides helpful suggestions about how health care providers can integrate aspects of the HIPAA access right into medical practice. This activity is intended for primary care physicians, obstetricians and gynecologists, pediatricians, and nurses.

The goal of this activity is to review components of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) right of access and ways in which it enables individuals to be more involved in their own care.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will have increased knowledge regarding:

  • The components of the HIPAA access right, including an individual's ability to direct a copy of their health information to a third party, including a researcher 
  • How the HIPAA right of access enables individuals to become more involved in their care
Information about training materials can be found on the HHS website here: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/training/index.html.

The video module can be found here: http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/876110
.


The module contains a video (approximately 37 minutes) titled “An Individuals’ Right to Access and Obtain Their Health Information Under HIPAA” and features Devan McGraw, the Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy at the US Department of Health and Humans Services. The video talks about why privacy protections are important, but mainly focuses on the patient’s right of access, including:

  • what fees that can be charged
  • whether records may be sent unsecured at the patient’s request
  • how quickly the records need to be provided to the patient upon request
  • which records can be excluded from a patient’s right to access
  • an individual’s ability to have a copy of his/her health information sent directly to a third party.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will receive free Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit for physicians and Continuing Education (CE) credit for health care professionals. In order to receive credit, it is required to have a Medscape user ID and password, which is free to sign up. There are no fees for participating in or receiving credit for this CME.



Additional Training Materials and Resources



Helping Entities Implement Privacy and Security Protections

The HIPAA Rules are flexible and scalable to accommodate the enormous range in types and sizes of entities that must comply with them. This means that there is no single standardized program that could appropriately train employees of all entities. 

HealthIT.gov’s Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information provides a beginners overview of what the HIPAA Rules require, and the page has links to security training games, risk assessment tools, and other aids.

Patient Privacy: A Guide for Providers (login required), is an educational program for health care providers on compliance with various aspects of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. Physicians can earn free Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits and health care professionals will receive Continuing Education (CE) credits.

State Attorneys General Training materials provide a more comprehensive overview of HIPAA compliance:




Want to learn more about the HIPAA Privacy & Security Rules? Sign Up for the OCR Privacy & Security Listserv

OCR has established two listservs to inform the public about health information privacy and security FAQs, guidance, and technical assistance materials. We encourage you to sign up and stay informed!

For additional information about HIPAA Privacy and HIPAA Security training for your self and your staff, please contact Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc. (HCSI). (801)-947-0183

 HCSI

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New I-9 Form Available As Of July 17, 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, as of July 17, 2017. 

Instructions for how to download Form I-9 are available on the Form I-9 page. Employers can use this revised version or continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N through Sept. 17, 2017. On Sept. 18, 2017 employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17 N. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions include:

  • Changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • Removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9 include:

  • Added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • Combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into selection C #2 in List C.
  • Renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.
These changes are also included in the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), which is now easier for users to navigate. 

E-Verify User Manual Update

E-Verify recently revised the E-Verify User Manual to include the most current system enhancements and policy updates. The manual has a new look and feel, looks better on the computer screen, and has a more user friendly navigation. Some sections have been reorganized and consolidated to improve the flow and readability of the information. To assist you in identifying the updates, the revised manual includes a Table of Changes.

See the Contact E-Verify page for E-Verify technical support, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Visit I-9 Central to get more details and to stay informed of other upcoming changes.

Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc. (HCSI) clients will also be able to download the new I-9 form and "Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9" from our website https://www.hcsiinc.com/ in the "Employment Law (HR)" section found under the in the "Updates/News" link.
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Friday, July 14, 2017

Hiring and Your Social Media Advantage

Using social media as part of your hiring process will help you find the kind of employees you want for your organization.

Jennifer was hired two months ago by her new boss Sally. Jennifer was an okay worker, but there were some things about her character that concerned Sally and Jennifer's co-workers. She had the skills to do the job, but she was not fitting into her team or the culture of the organization. Sally had thought she made a good hire, but was beginning to doubt Jennifer's longevity with the organization. When it came time for Jennifer's new hire 90-day review, Sally had no choice but to let her go. By this time Jennifer had become a negative influence on her co-workers and morale was beginning to suffer. It was time for Sally to being the costly and time consuming hiring process over again.

Hiring managers are faced with the described situation above far too often. They think they have made a good hire, but soon realize the mistake they made. 20 years ago, hiring somebody who's character and personality does not fit within the organizational culture would be very difficult to foresee. Today, there are resources available through social media that help hiring mangers make more informed hiring decisions.

Why is Character So Important?
When a new employee is brought into an organization, that new employee will have an effect on their co-workers and on the culture of the organization itself. Whether that effect is positive or negative greatly depends upon the character of the the new employee. It is important to take the character of a potential new hire into account before making the hiring decision. Finding someone who has the basic skills and knowledge to get the job done is critical to being able to do the job. With this in mind, if a hiring manager can find a candidate who has good basic skills, not superman skills, but a basic understanding of the job skills and knowledge, but also has good character, then that is a great candidate.

Social Media Resource
When a hiring manager begins to narrow his or her list of candidates down to the final few, it is time to find out more about their character. One of the best places to discover more about a persons character is by reviewing the select candidates social media profiles and posts. This enables a hiring manager to get a basic understanding of the candidates and their character. It is through the language they use, their posts, and how they interact with others that gives the hiring manager look at the personality and character of who they are looking to hire.

Social Media and Privacy
Some hiring managers may say that they do not feel comfortable looking at a candidates social media profiles due to it being perceived as an invasion of privacy. It is important to understand that anything posted online within a blog or social media is not private! Anything posted on the Internet is available to anyone at anytime and cannot be permanently removed. Any type of posting on the Internet, immediately becomes public knowledge. Reviewing someones social media profiles is not an invasion of privacy.

Hiring managers are given the responsibility to bring the best and most qualified new employees into their organization. Having the ability to review social media profiles makes it less of a crap shoot to accomplish this task.



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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

HCSI Interveiw with Buck Parker a General and Trauma Surgeon Episode: 25

Lance King of Healthcare Compliance Solutions (www.hcsiinc.com) interviewed Buck Parker, General and Trauma Surgeon at St Mark's Hospital and digital entrepreneur.


Background
Buck Parker was born in Jackson WY. He did his residency at Detroit's Henry Ford hospital, and after a couple of moves to Florida and Wyoming now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Buck grew up hunting with his dad and  in field dressing animals became interested in anatomy. His dad and grandpa were carpenters and he enjoyed working with his hands, plus he loved science. He thought about being a doctor when he was 16 and after some detours finally decided to go into medicine when he was 21. He felt that he did better in med school than most of his colleagues because he was older and more mature. 

Digital Entrepreneurship
Buck's family members had their own businesses, so he grew up with an entrepreneurial mindset. His mom and dad had a motel and restaurant. They did things out of box and were ahead of the marketing curve and Buck learned to think creatively from them. He wanted an internet business when the internet first came around and in medical school he researched web-businesses. Between college and medical school he lost 30-40 pounds, so he decided to get into affiliate marketing and sell the product that helped him lose the weight. He told us how he ended up having the most popular website for these products and the company had to ask him not to compete with them. Buck shared with us different methods of digital marketing, including pay-per-click, opt-ins, and content creation and curation.

Pay-per-click
When he first started out, pay-per-click (PPC) was a cheap and easy way to get people to find your webpage. PPC is where a company pays a host website money every time a  user clicks on the company's ad. Another PPC method is where a company 'buys' search engine words so that when a user searches those terms, the company's advertisement will show up first on the search list. As time has gone on, PPC marketing has gotten more expensive. Buck recommends looking at other avenues that are more accessible.

Opt-ins
One of those methods is opt-ins. Anytime a company offers something for free in exchange for a customer's email address, it is utilizing opt-in marketing. Social media platforms are essentially opt-in based, because users click “follow” to receive information and offers from a company. Buck says that as long as you give good content, you can eventually offer a product or service to purchase, or you can receive money through advertisers who want to be featured on your page. Many companies do this and he doesn't see why physicians can't do the same thing. He says, “If you can be informative and entertaining, you'll gain followers.” The purpose of opt-in marketing is to give value. His company's goal is to give 10 times the value of stuff the customer buys, so if they buy $1000 worth of stuff, he wants to give them $10,000 worth of content.  Buck knows that most people are scared of giving too much because people won't buy their stuff, but he says that good marketers give more than average.



Content Creation and Curation
A related method that Buck touched on was content creation and curation. This method works with social media. You can either create your own content, such as photos, videos, and articles, or you can curate a collection of related photos, videos, and articles created by other people. He has found that curation is much easier and effective than creation. Buck told us about his Jackson Hole Vacation Instagram account and how he's found ways to successfully attract advertisers.
Buck says the most important thing is to spend time figuring out what platforms work for your specific services/products. He subscribes to Gary Vaynerchuk's idea of 'day trading in people's attention' and that every time people's attention moves to a new thing, there's another opportunity to be the first person there. The current trend of attention is moving from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat. Buck looks forward to staying on top of the social media marketing curve throughout these changes.

Personal Habit of Success
Throughout the interview, it was apparent that throughout his life, Buck Parker is a persistent person, who doesn't stop looking for the next challenge. It was no surprise when he said persistence was his personal habit of success. He says you have to hold on to the things you like and that drive you. For him, surgery and internet marketing drive his passion. Buck watched his parents try to do everything themselves and they were never able to grow their businesses as big as they could have. He realized that he has to give up micromanaging and find the right person to take care of the details so he will be free to build something else.

Three Absolute Truths
  1. Be kind because everyone is human. It's the right thing to do and you'll be happier for it.
  2. Always be yourself. Be authentic and don't worry about what people say. Embrace whatever makes your life fun.
  3. Be awesome. When you have positive energy, (like picking up trash when no one is looking), it piles up and makes you feel better which makes you be able to do better things for the world.


Buck Parker, Bio

Dr. Buck Parker is a Doctor and Entrepreneur. Dr. Buck is a General and Trauma Surgeon in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is from Jackson, Wyoming and is an avid skier. He did his medical school at St. Matthews University School of Medicine in Belize. He then did his General Surgery residency at Henry Ford Hospital in downtown Detroit, MI. Dr. Parker has been an entrepreneur since residency when in 2007 he built a successful business selling exercise DVDs and equipment based on internet marketing and search algorithms. Since then he has been interested in how current technology can shape and improve our lives and society. Dr. Parker’s mission is to use this knowledge to spread the positive message of personal accountability for overall societal improvement, using social media and internet marketing techniques. With this mindset change, ordinary people can achieve greatness

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Buck Parker Interview



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