Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Party Etiquette

What do holiday parties and compliance have to do with each other? Everything.



26% of men and 18% of women use alcohol as a crutch to get through the holiday events. While holiday parties are great, they’re also a prime place for compliance infringements. If you’re not prepared, these compliance issues could result in sexual harassment claims or even a lawsuit.

The importance of training your managers and employees on compliance issues related to behavior cannot be overstated.

This infographic provides statistics and actionable steps to help you mitigate risk at your annual holiday party and ensure the event is memorable
(in a good way).

Use this infographic of tips and tricks to help ensure you have a compliant, safe and fun holiday party!


HCSI

Friday, November 17, 2017

Preventing Harassment Depends On Your Organizational Culture


Individual behaviors do not present as much of a risk factor for harassment as does the organizations' culture

Sarah was surprised when Mike came into her office to file a harassment complaint. Everyone within the organization had just completed Harassment Training the previous week, but yet here is Mike sitting in Sarah's office. Mike is complaining that he is being bullied in the office by multiple staff members. Sarah is very aware that this is covered within the organizations Harassment Training, so why was it happening? This situation has the potential of getting messy and dragging on for quite sometime.

Harassment is a decision made by an individual when his or her 
work environment allows for it.

Yes, the above statement is a hard fact to face. When an individual decides to take action in an inappropriate manner, that decision was made using various factors:
  • What is the character of the individual in question?
  • Does he or she have a history of inappropriate actions or words, but not held accountable for those actions or words?
  • Did the individuals' supervisor report any suspicious activity, words, or mannerisms?
  • Is there motivation behind the individuals actions or words?
All of the above questions do not necessarily point to the individual, but rather the organization and the culture that lives within that organization. Harassment thrives in organizations that lack respect, a healthy culture, and accountability.

Victoria Lipnic of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated the following:
"Too much of the effort and training to prevent workplace harassment over the last 30 years has been ineffective an focused on simply avoiding legal liability. In simplest terms, training must change. That does not mean we are suggesting that training be thrown out - far from it - but training needs to be part of a holistic, committed effort to combat harassment, focused on the specific culture and needs of a particular workplace. Above all, employees must have faith in the system." (1)

Simply having a reactive system in place that responds to harassment claims is not enough. Out of fear of retribution, employees may not report the harassment when it occurs. It is becoming vital for organizations to lessen the opportunity for harassment from happening so significantly, that it is nearly non-existent within the organization. This type of harassment free environment is created from the culture that exist within the organization. Here are some suggestions to help create a harassment free culture:
  • Hire not just for skills and knowledge. The character of the individual must be a top priority when considering who to bring into the organization.
  • When an individual does act inappropriately, they must be held accountable. A slap on the wrist or a simple "tongue lashing" will not deter the individual or others from inappropriate actions in the future.
  • Effective supervisor training is a critical component. Supervisors must receive proper training that enables them to identify strange behaviors, words spoken, or mannerisms. When something odd occurs, it should be documented and monitored.
  • Create an environment of positive thinking, mutual respect, and support for fellow co-workers.
  • Ensure that your harassment policies are equal for everyone within your organization. One classification of worker should not have an advantage over another or receive special treatment.
  • Be sure everyone within the organization (at all levels) receives harassment training and this training is acknowledged through documentation. As part of your harassment training, ensure that all members of the organization understand what is considered harassment.
  • False harassment accusations should not be tolerated. A growing number of employees have been falsely accusing their co-worker of harassment in order to gain a competitive advantage over that co-worker.
Creating a "harassment free" culture within your organization will never completely eliminate harassment from occurring. However, it will greatly reduce the opportunity for it to occur.

Don't put your organization at risk by having a reactive approach to harassment. Take measures to be more proactive in your approach. Your employees will be grateful for the safer work environment that will be created and it will reduce the liability risk to the organization.

Individuals will be who they are. Try to ensure that you have the best people within your organization who, through their character, actions, and words are representatives of an organizational culture that you can be proud of!



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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Importance of Written Time Off Policies

Managing time off requests effectively
will help reduce your liability

There are certain times of the year, summer and holidays, when a significant number of employees request time off from work. While it would be nice to accommodate all of the time off requests, work still needs to get done. In addition to reduced productivity, there is another factor with time off requests that increases liability, reduces morale, and sours the great culture that has been building within the organization. All of these are the result of unfair time off practices.

Reduce Liability
All of your time off requests should be done by following a written policy and procedure. Time off policies should be the same for the same type of employee (part-time or full-time). Be sure that the written time off policies are in no way discriminatory of gender, race, religion, or other factor.

Keep Morale High
If the written policies and procedures are not deviated from and are followed, then there should be no appearance of favoritism. It is the appearance or perception of favoritism that has a destructive influence on the morale of other employees.

Culture is Still Great
Any type of special allowances of time off could have a souring effect on the culture of an organization. Remember, everyone would like to have a special day off and get paid for it. If it is not written in the policies and procedures, don't do it. If someone really needs to have a day off and it is outside of the written policies, then the day off can be granted to the employee, but it would not be an unpaid day off. This would not have the same souring effect on the culture as a paid day off would have.

Reduce liability, keep the morale high, and maintain a great culture by having fair and written time off policies and procedures that are strictly followed.



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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

OSHA's New Fact Sheet on Preventing Zika Virus Exposure in Healthcare Workers

OSHA has released a new fact sheet on preventing Zika virus exposure in biomedical laboratory and other healthcare workers.
The Zika virus was found in the Americas and the Caribbean in 2015. Symptoms include fever, rash and joint pain. The virus, which can spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain known as microcephaly.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection, and there is no specific treatment for people who become infected. Although Zika virus is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, exposure to an infected person’s blood or other body fluids may also result in transmission. 
Outdoor workers may be at the greatest risk of exposure to Zika virus.  Some workers, including those working with insecticides in areas of active Zika transmission to control mosquitoes and healthcare workers who may be exposed to contaminated blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) from people infected with Zika virus, may require additional protection. 
Although, to date, there are no absolutely confirmed reports of transmission of Zika virus from infected patients to health care personnel or other patients in the United Sates; minimizing exposure to body fluids is important to reduce the possibility of such transmission. The CDC has previously recommended Standard Precautions in all health care settings to protect both health care personnel and patients from infection with Zika virus as well as from blood-borne pathogens (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and hepatitis C virus [HCV]).


The New OSHA fact sheet on the Zika virus details how laboratory exposures occur, often through bodily fluids, and how to prevent exposures. Labs should undergo risk assessments, OSHA advises, with the fact sheet detailing the standards, recommendations and biosafety practices to follow.
OSHA also looks at worker training required under its (BBP) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (1910.1030), and what employers should do in the case of an exposure or if a worker shows signs/symptoms of the virus.
Guidance to Healthcare and Laboratory Workers
  • Employers and workers in healthcare settings and laboratories should follow standard infection control and biosafety practices (including universal precautions) as appropriate, to prevent or minimize the risk of Zika virus transmission.
  • Standard precautions include, but are not limited to, hand hygiene and the use of (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment to avoid direct contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials, including laboratory specimens/samples. PPE may include gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection.
  • Hand hygiene consists of washing with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Soap and water are best for hands that are visibly soiled. Perform hand hygiene before and after any contact with a patient, after any contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removing PPE, including gloves.
  • Laboratories should ensure that their facilities and practices meet the appropriate (BSL) Biosafety Level for the type of work being conducted (including the specific biologic agents – in this case, Zika virus) in the laboratory.
  • Employers should ensure that workers: Follow workplace standard operating procedures (e.g., workplace exposure control plans) and use the engineering controls and work practices available in the workplace to prevent exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  • Employers should ensure workers do NOT bend, recap, or remove contaminated needles or other contaminated sharps. Properly dispose of these items in closable, puncture-resistant, leak-proof, and labeled or color-coded containers. Workers should use sharps with engineered sharps injury protection (SESIP) to avoid sharps-related injuries.
The fact sheet notes that the Zika virus is “a nationally notifiable condition” and labs should consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reporting guidelines.
HCSI - sharps
If an employee becomes infected, the CDC recommends that infected individuals rest, drink fluids, and take acetaminophen for fever and pain reduction. Infected persons should avoid further mosquito bites by covering skin and using an insect repellent containing DEET.

Employers should ensure that workers receive prompt and appropriate medical care for suspected Zika infection. If the exposure falls under OSHA’s BBP standard, employers must comply with OSHA medical evaluation and follow-up requirements. Also employers should consider options for granting sick leave during the active period of infection.

Sources: www.hcsiinc.comwww.osha.govwww.cdc.gov, www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com 
 Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc.

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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 Repairing Natural Disasters

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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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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