Tuesday, January 31, 2017

States Raising Minimum Wage for 2017 - Don't Forget To Update Posters!

Update Your State Minimum Wage Poster!

With recent and upcoming state modifications regarding minimum wage laws, be certain to check with your state's Labor and Industry division/commission to ensure you have their latest minimum wage notice poster(s) required for your office or practice.

Generally these posters can be downloaded, free of charge, in PDF format from your state's labor division website or optionally can be purchased through various re-sellers and online sources.  See this DOL listing of State Labor Offices for more information on resources.

The following states have announced increases to the minimum wage and have issued new posters:
State New Minimum Wage Effective Date
 Alaska $9.80 Jan. 1, 2017
 Arkansas $8.50 Jan. 1, 2017
 California $10.50
(for employers with
26 or more employees
Jan. 1, 2017
Colorado $9.30 Jan. 1, 2017
Connecticut $10.10 Jan. 1, 2017
District of Columbia $12.50 Jan. 1, 2017
Florida $8.10 Jan. 1, 2017
Hawaii $9.25 Jan. 1, 2017
Maryland $9.25 Jan. 1, 2017
Massachusetts $11.00 Jan. 1, 2017
Michigan $8.90 Jan. 1, 2017
Missouri $7.70 Jan. 1, 2017
Montana $8.15 Jan. 1, 2017
New Jersey $8.44 Jan. 1, 2017
Ohio $8.15 Jan. 1, 2017
Vermont $10.00 Jan. 1, 2017
Washington $11.00 Dec. 31, 2016

The following states have announced minimum wage increases and new posters are pending:
State New Minimum Wage Effective Date
Arizona $10.00 Jan. 1, 2017
Maine $9.00 Jan. 1, 2017
New York Variable rates
based on location
Dec. 31, 2016
Oregon $10.25 Jan. 1, 2017

Overview of state minimum wage changes: 

Effective December 31, 2016

New York:
  • $9.70 per hour for Greater New York
  • $10.00 per hour for Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties
  • $10.50 for New York City (small employers)
  • $11.00 for New York City (large employers)

Effective January 1, 2017

Alaska: $9.80 per hour.
Arizona: $10.00 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2018.
Arkansas: $8.50 per hour.
California: $10.00 for employers with 25 or fewer employees; $10.50 for employers with 26 or more employees. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2018.
Colorado: $9.30 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.20 per hour on January 1, 2018.
Connecticut: $10.10 per hour.
Florida: $8.10 per hour.
Hawaii: $9.25 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.10 per hour on January 1, 2018.
Maine: $9.00 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2018.
Massachusetts: $11.00 per hour.
Michigan: $8.90 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $9.25 on January 1, 2018.
Missouri: $7.70 per hour.
Montana: $8.15 per hour.
New Jersey: $8.44 per hour.
Ohio: $8.15 per hour (gross receipts of $297,000 or more); $7.25 per hour (gross receipts under $297,000)
South Dakota: $8.65 per hour.
Vermont: $10.00 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2018.
Washington: $11.00 per hour. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $11.50 per hour on January 1, 2018.

Effective July 1, 2017

Washington D.C: $12.50 per hour on July 1, 2017. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $13.25 per hour on July 1, 2018.
Maryland: $9.25 per hour on July 1, 2017. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.10 per hour on July 1, 2018.
Oregon: $10.25 per hour standard rate on July 1, 2017; the Portland metro rate will increase to $11.25 per hour; and the nonurban counties rate will increase to $10.00. The minimum wage is also scheduled to increase to $10.75 per hour standard rate on July 1, 2018; the Portland metro rate will increase to $12.00 per hour; and the nonurban counties rate will increase to $10.50.

 HCSI
Source(s): http://www/hcsiinc.com, https://www.dol.gov/whd/contacts/state_of.htm, http://www.lni.wa.gov/, https://www.dir.ca.gov/, http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com
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Monday, January 30, 2017

HSCI Interview with Josh Johnson of Advanced MD: Episode 3

Advanced MD

In this week's episode, Lance King from Healthcare Compliance Solutions (www.hcsiinc.com), interviews Josh Johnson, the Executive Vice President of Advanced MD.  Advanced MD is a cloud-based service-provider for EMR (electronic medical record), billing, and telemedicine software.

Get to Know Josh Johnson
Josh Johnson has a passion for sports.  He grew up playing four high school sports and now enjoys coaching his children's teams. His father was a great example of not quitting and instilled that value in him.  Josh's favorite quote is from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!”  

Josh Johnson as a Manager
Josh has relied on that philosophy of positive thinking and giving it his all throughout his career. He especially had to rely on it during times of transitions.  Josh worked as the VP of sales for ADP.  When ADP acquired Advanced MD, Josh made a lateral move to work for them and has since been promoted to Executive Vice President of Sales.  Josh Johnson recommends the book Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast and tries to stick to it's principles when managing his sales team.  When acquiring new companies and instilling the new culture of commitment, Josh looks for people who are willing to not give up and want to have a long-term career with the company.  He prides himself on developing a positive culture where his salespeople can succeed if they're willing to put in the effort.  A key part of that culture development is the practice of giving nicknames to co-workers.  Giving everyone nicknames is just part of building a culture of success, motivation, and retention at Advanced MD.  

Advanced MD
Advanced MD is a nation-wide, cloud-hosted tech company that specializes in technology and software for medical offices as large as 25 or more practitioners or as small as a single doctor-owned practice that is just starting out. Within the software, they provide electronic medical record (EMR), patient portals so patients can access their information and fill out forms online, telemedicine
platforms where patients can receive healthcare remotely, as well as scheduling software and more.   Josh says that Advanced MD's biggest competitive advantage is their billing software.  Because of billing inefficiencies, physicians end up treating their first two patients of every day for free.  Advanced MD's billing products will help eliminate that inefficiency.  Besides offering billing software directly to clients, Advanced MD also offers software for billing companies, or can take over billing entirely.

Another competitive advantage of Advanced MD is their specialized sales and implementation teams.  These teams are familiar with the needs and nuances of specific specialties.  The implementation teams will walk everyone, established practice or brand-new start-up, through all aspects of the software.  This includes set-up, credentialing, billing, scheduling, reporting, and submitting claims.  Once the client understands the product, they are turned over to service specialists who continue to support the practice with any questions or continuing needs.  Advanced MD also offers additional products, such as analytic tools which can help a practice compare and contrast their performance with others in the same specialty or locality.  
  
Benefits
Doctors/business owners like to have control over data. Advanced MD offers that control through access to information and charts electronically. The efficiencies gained through Advanced MD allows doctors to use their time on patient care, instead of keeping track of papers. Doctors can enter information on a tablet or phone and it will be uploaded to the cloud. Electronic charting systems are also more effective in safeguarding patient information.  Advanced MD prides itself on billing efficiency so offices have higher bill-pay, thus becoming more profitable.  Advanced MD also offers continued support for their clients after purchase through product enhancements, question support, access to newsletters, and monthly webinars  Finally, if clients refer other practitioners resulting in a sale, the referring office earns discounts and other incentives.  Josh Johnson says Advanced MD's mission is to save the private practice by focusing on billing efficiency, continuous advancement, and putting the customer first.

Contact
Potential clients may visit Advanced MD's website at www.advancedmd.com; it's easy to navigate and offers access to webinars, information by specialty, and newsletter subscription.
Or call 800-825-0224 and anyone in the company would be happy to answer questions.

Help Us Spread the Word!

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Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
Advanced MD Interview
Doctor Entreprenur Interview Playlist

Friday, January 27, 2017

Disclosure VS Breach

What is the difference between an incidental/accidental disclosure and a breach?

With the approaching breach notification deadline (Before March 1st, all breaches must be reported 60 days after the end of the previous calendar year that the breach occurred), I have receive many calls and emails asking, "is this a breach and do I need to report it?". This is an important topic that needs some clarification.

Incidental Disclosure

These disclosures are non-intentional and occur as a by-product of allowed uses and disclosures. They are allowed as long as the minimum necessary standard and reasonable safeguards are applied in the course of your everyday operations. An example would be if a passerby overhears PHI being discussed at a nursing station. These disclosures do not have to be accounted for.

Accidental Disclosure

These types of disclosures are distinctly different from incidental disclosures. Accidental disclosures
happen when a mistake is made in disclosing a patient’s PHI. Examples include faxing or mailing PHI to the wrong destination or disclosing PHI to an unauthorized person. If you are aware of an accidental disclosure, you need to log the disclosure on the disclosure log. If the disclosure is potentially harmful or damaging to the patient, you need to notify the patient of the accidental disclosure.

Identifying a Breach of Unsecured PHI

A breach is defined in the HIPAA HITECH Act as:

The unauthorized acquisition, access, use, or disclosure of unsecured protected
health information which compromises the security or privacy of such
information, except where an unauthorized person to whom such information is
disclosed would not reasonably have been able to retain such information. (Note
that de-identified health information, as defined in HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, is not
PHI; therefore no breach notification is required.)

Exceptions include:

• Any unintentional acquisition, access, or use of protected health information by an
employee or individual acting under the authority of a covered entity if:
• Such acquisition, access, or use was made in good faith and within the course and
scope of the employment or other professional relationship of such employee or
individual, respectively, with the covered entity; and
• Such information is not further acquired, accessed, used, or disclosed by any
person; or
• Any inadvertent disclosure from an individual who is otherwise authorized to
access protected health information at a facility operated by a covered entity to
another similarly situated individual at the same facility; and
• Any such information received as a result of such disclosure is not further
acquired, accessed, used, or disclosed without authorization by any person.

I hope the information listed above helps you have a better understanding of the difference between an incidental/accidental disclosure and a breach. Here is another article that could offer some additional information.

If you would like additional information, please feel free to email support@hcsiinc.com




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Thursday, January 26, 2017

HSCI Interview with Dan McNeff of Legally Mine USA: Episode 2

Lance King of Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc interviewed Dan McNeff, the founder and CEO of Legally Mine USA.  Dan answered some questions about his company and how Legally Mine protects the assets of health care providers.  
                                                                                                     


Legally Mine Backstory

Dan McNeff began his career working for Jay Mitton, the father of asset protection.  Mitton started a company that developed an asset protection self-help kit marketed to medical associations.  Dan started as a director, became a speaker for the business, moved up to run the whole company, and eventually bought the entire company from Jay Mitton.  Dan decided to convert the business from self-help to full service because he felt the medical practices were better served and informed this way.  Legally Mine has grown to be the biggest full-service asset protection provider for medical practices in the United States.  It employs 6 full-time attorneys, 50 full-time employees, and over 20 law clerks and paralegals.  Dan attributes Legally Mine’s success and growth to having the best industry knowledge and experience.  Legally Mine specializes in protecting assets from lawsuits, as well as lowering income taxes for medical practices, and educating practices on continuing legal issues.

Challenges Faced

The biggest challenge Legally Mine overcame in the beginning was two-fold: finding the right people and putting them in the right place.   Dan recalled cycling through many employees before he found the best of the best. Once he got the best people, he said another challenge was letting go of control and recognizing his own weaknesses so he could focus on his strengths.  Focusing on strengths enabled everyone to do what he/she each did best, making the company more efficient. Now that he’s got the best people in the right seats, he says that the company is in high demand and they can accomplish everything they want to and do so in a timely fashion. 

During the interview, Lance was reminded of the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins.  The book has a chapter about hiring the right people, and states “Good to great companies first got the right people on the bus–and the wrong people off the bus–and then figured out where to drive it.”   Dan McNeff is “driving the bus” in the right direction, as evidenced by the increased growth over the past two years.

Growth

Dan credits his valuable employees for the growth of his company. His talented educators are able to open the eyes of medical providers to the value of asset protection.  His office staff is knowledgeable and efficient; they fulfill company promises and handle problems in a timely manner.  Customers are impressed and offer voluntary testimonials to potential clients through word of mouth. 

Why Legally Mine?

Legally Mine helps medical firms protect themselves against the biggest threat to their survival: lawsuits—both internal and external.  Dan McNeff stated that the average physician will be sued four times in his/her career; he also said the American Medical Association found that a physician is seven times more likely to be sued than get in a car wreck in a given year.  Dan reminded us that we all have car insurance, so why wouldn’t doctors all engage in asset protection? Dan said, “[Legally Mine] is the largest firm of our kind; that’s ever existed frankly. We know what we do works because we’ve faced more of it than anybody has ever faced. That does, in fact, make a difference.”
The main reason why medical providers are using Legally Mine is that owners are finding their assets are not protected as well as they thought they were in a lawsuit.  When corporations were originally created, they were to gather large sums of money to create large companies. Because of the increased litigation, people began to incorporate businesses to protect personal assets in lawsuits, as well as to have the business be seen as an individual tax-wise.   Lately, case law has created the ‘alter ego rule’ where legally a medical provider equals her practice.  This rule makes it possible to ‘pierce the corporate veil’ and make personal assets available, such as homes, cars, boats, savings, and rental properties for seizure in lawsuits.
Legally Mine offers full-service asset protection, specialized for medical practices. Many lawyers don’t specialize in medical practice asset protection; Dan likened using a general practice lawyer instead of Legally Mine to getting eye surgery from a dentist.  Dan asserts that not only do clients get the best services in the industry no one can beat Legally Mine’s prices for the services offered. 

Alternative Solutions that are Less-Effective

Irrevocable Trusts
Irrevocable trusts can be domestic or offshore but they work essentially the same way. Irrevocable trusts are less expensive than using Legally Mine.  Unfortunately, they are not good options because there is no solid case history in testing them, so it is unknown if they will actually protect a practice’s assets. Irrevocable trusts are also just that, irrevocable!  They cannot be changed, so it’s rather risky to make a decision that one cannot change.  The IRS doesn’t like irrevocable trusts because they are tax shields; unfortunately, this means there’s a higher risk of audits by the IRS when a company employs this type of asset protection. Finally, the biggest problem with an irrevocable trust is that you are giving control and ownership to someone else.  Dan used the example of having a home in trust and then having your kids decide that it would be in your best interest to sell the home and move you to a nursing home.  You would have no say in the matter and would have to move. 

Self-help kits
The main problem with self-help kits is that business owners have to rely on themselves to become an authority on local, state, and federal laws instead of focusing on their practices.  Someone might think they are legally covered until he discovers in a lawsuit that what he did was not good enough. 

US Compliant Trusts
US Compliant Trusts place assets in life insurance policies by using the assets as the premium. The assets are backed by a cash value.  The biggest problem with these is that the policyholder no longer owns the assets—the insurance company does. 

Steps Involved with Legally Mine

Contact Legally Mine at www.legallymineusa.com or call 1 800 375-2435 to schedule an educational seminar.  The seminar can be in person or a webinar; both will be live to allow for question and answer. 

Once an owner/medical provider decides to retain Legally Mine’s services, the team will go over the assets involved and create a blue print of asset protection.  They will also design a rudimentary tax reduction plan, as well as create a living trust.

If the owner/medical provider agrees to the blue print, the legal team will do a final review, and take care of everything for the owner. The information contained in the blueprint will be bound and presented to the owner.

Legally Mine offers continued support to their customers through a maintenance program that includes prep minutes for meetings monthly, newsletters, and a privileged section of their webpage with the newest in asset protection information.



Help Us Spread the Word!

If you enjoyed this episode of the Doctor Entreprenur podcast, please head over to iTunes, leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Today’ show was brought to you by Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc, the online compliance solution for OSHA, HIPAA, Medicare and employment law for small to mid-sized practices and business associates. http://hcsiinc.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

OCR Updates HIPAA Guidance on Sharing Information with Patients’ Loved Ones, Family and Friends

Clarification For Sharing Patient Information
A January 10, 2017 Issuance from Heath and Human Services' (HHS) Office if Civil Rights (OCR) updating new privacy guidance is aimed at clarifying that the HIPAA Privacy Rule does permit disclosures of health information to a patient's loved ones regardless of whether they are recognized as relatives under applicable law. This guidance for healthcare professionals is to help clear up confusion about allowable disclosures of protected health information to spouses, relatives, and patients’ loved ones.

The majority of healthcare professionals are aware that the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits them, within the exercise of their own professional judgement, to share the protected health information of a patient with a relative or loved one or if it is in the patient's best interest. However, the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting incident revealed that many healthcare professionals are unsure about how the HIPAA Privacy Rule – 45 CFR164.510(b) – applies to same sex couples.

OCR has confirmed that the Privacy Rule permits a covered entity to “share PHI with an individual’s family member, other relative, close personal friend, or any other person identified by the individual, the information directly relevant to the involvement of that person in the patient’s care or payment for health care.” OCR has also confirmed that covered entities are allowed to disclose relevant information “to notify, or assist in the notification of (including by helping to identify or locate), such a person of the patient’s location, general condition, or death.”
The recipient can be a “patient’s family member, relative, guardian, caregiver, friend, spouse, or partner,” but also any other individual that is a nominated personal representative of the patient. A personal representative of a patient must, as far as the Privacy Rule is concerned, be treated as the individual for purposes such as exercising the patient’s Privacy Rule rights, including providing access to their health information. There are limited exceptions, which are detailed in 45 CFR164.502(g).

OCR has confirmed that covered entities are permitted to share a patient’s PHI with same-sex partners, and explains that the list of potential recipients of PHI is in no way affected by an individual patient’s sex or gender identity, and neither by the sex or gender of the potential recipient.

OCR also sought to confirm who can be classed as a personal representative of the patient, saying “the Privacy Rule generally looks to state laws governing which persons have authority to act on behalf of an individual in making decisions related to health care.”

For example, if a state grants legally married spouses health care decision making authority for each other, a covered entity would be in violation of the Privacy Rule if access to the patient’s information was not granted if requested by a spouse, regardless of the sex of that individual.

While the covered entity should seek permission from the patient concerned prior to sharing information, in cases when the patient is incapacitated or not available, covered entities should use their professional judgement if the sharing of information is in the patient’s best interest. Should a patient be deceased, information can be shared with a person who has been involved in the patient’s care or who has made payment for medical services prior to the patient’s death.

The new OCR privacy rule guidance, issued in a frequently asked questions format, was developed in large part to address confusion following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting about whether and when hospitals may share protected health information with patients' loved ones, OCR says in a statement. "In particular, the FAQ makes clear that the potential recipients of information under the relevant permissive disclosure provisions ... are not limited by the sex or gender identity of the person," OCR says.

On that same topic, OCR also issued updated guidance "that makes clear that the terms 'marriage, spouse and family member' include, respectively, all lawful marriages - whether same-sex or opposite-sex) - lawfully married spouses and the dependents of all lawful marriages, and clarifies certain rights of individuals under the Privacy Rule."

Heathcare Compliance Solutions Inc. recommends consulting with your practice or organization's attorney and/or your state medical association/board to verify your state's legislation regarding the definitions and legal ramifications of terms relating to this regulation such as: "Personal Representative", "Lawful Marriage", "Family Member", etc..

 HCSI



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Thursday, January 12, 2017

HSCI Interview with Keith Weaver of Carepoint: Episode 1

In this podcast episode, Lance King with Healthcare Compliance Solutions interviews Keith Weaver, owner of Carepoint, to discuss how his company helps health care providers. We will pinpoint some problems health care providers experience before they decide to reach out to a company like Carepoint, and will have Keith explain what Carepoint solutions provides. I believe our readers and viewers will find our discussion valuable. We at Healthcare Compliance Services have recently entered a partnership with Carepoint to do some fun things that will benefit you.

LANCE KING: Welcome, Keith. How did you become involved with Carepoint?
KEITH WEAVER: Hello, Carepoint is a group purchasing organization. Before I joined Carepoint, I owned a home health and hospice, plus some other businesses. I was familiar with group purchasing in these roles, but was always looking for ways to cut costs, so we could know how to keep more of our profits. About five or six years ago, I sold some of my companies, and I was looking to get involved with another company. That's when I came across Carepoint. Now, I also have a background as an attorney, so the world of contracts and contract negotiation is very familiar to me. So when I came across the opportunity to become an owner at Carepoint, I saw it was a great blend of working with the medical field—with the different clinics, doctors, nursing homes—and contract management as we put contracts together to save our members money. It has been a great ride the last four years, and I have enjoyed helping members. Actually, the company has existed since 2000, so around sixteen years now, but my involvement with it has been only the last four to five years.


Many doctors and associates have either recently joined or started a practice. What “pain points” does Carepoint address for its customers?
Medicare and different insurance carriers are increasingly cutting back what they reimburse doctors. It’s making it harder. For a long time, the medical field profits made pretty abundant profits. Now, more and more people are cutting back. They have to look at cutting salaries, or cutting other places, so if there are ways Carepoint can save them money, help their bottom line, the better that is for the employees, for the doctor, and for everybody involved in the medical practice. Doing that solves one of their big “pain points” of not being able to keep more of their profits.

Another big “pain point” for practices is that finding the vendors and products it needs takes such a long time. Think about the last time you shopped for a car. How long did you shop for it? There are various cars, various dealers. How did you find the best deal? How did you find what you wanted? All of those things take time. It is similar to when a medical practice looks at vendors. To research and vet each vendor to find which offers the best deal takes time. Carepoint works with all of our members to find vetted vendors that 1) will offer a discount to our members, and 2) come highly recommended, that work with us, and are motivated to provide great services because they work with the members as a whole. Thus, it saves the individual member not only money, but also the time needed to find and compare, say, five or six different possible vendors, see what each offers, and to negotiate the best deal. Carepoint takes out all of those “pain” issues. We hand everything to our members with some pre-negotiated rates. It is then much easier for them to look at it, make a decision, and get going on it.

So two major concerns for many health care practices are finding the right vendor and finding the right price, as many practices must use several vendors. Carepoint helps by offering a discounted group rate.

With these in mind, please tell us how a health care provider interested in your service would sign on Carepoint. Also, please explain how Carepoint works with its members once they do join.
The process of joining Carepoint is easy. There is a short application that goes through their basic demographic information, and what kind of practice they run so we can understand what contracts to offer.

We do all the service for people. First, we assign all new members a case manager. The case manager then calls them to review the vendors they use, and what products they buy. We then find the best contracts for them so they don't have to. Sometimes members will say when they first come on, “I just want to go to a website and look.” Well, to look through two thousand contracts is a waste of their time. If our case manager can say, for example, “Oh, I see you are looking for a health care solutions compliance contract,” we can then show them we have a contract with this company here, these are the benefits, and this is the price. It saves them the time of searching through all the contracts. So having a case manager is a huge benefit, because they can work with someone from the practice one-on-one.

The other thing a case manager will do for the member is what we call “researches.” For example, we just had a member clinic call us. They wanted to buy a new ultrasound machine. They looked it up; they found the one that they wanted, or one of three. It was going to cost $57,000. So they called up their case manager. The case manager looked through our contract, talked to some of our vendors, and found we could actually get an ultrasound for about fifty percent off. The clinic actually ended up buying two ultrasound machines, paying $63,000 for two versus $57,000 for just one because it was such a good deal. Two of the doctors decided they each wanted a new machine, so they bought two of them! That sort of research is something the case manager does to save time, so the practice no longer needs to do it on its own.




Walk us through your vendor vetting process—its importance, and what goes into it.
As you can imagine, there are other group purchasing organizations out there. What I believe people look for from a group purchasing organization are good, quality deals. They want to know the vendor they buy from offers good pricing. But they also want value, not necessarily the cheapest, but a combination of best price and quality. Our reputation, then, hangs on the contracts we offer. Without mentioning names, we had a contract where the vendor was quite good, but after four or five years we suddenly started hearing complaints from our member. This was a national contract with a national company. We went to the vendor and complained, went up the ranks, but could not get the solution we wanted. We discharged them, negotiated with another vendor, and started working with this new company because, again, the quality of the service, the quality of that contract, is our reputation. Carepoint will make sure we have quality vendors that work well with our members. If not, our members will not keep those contracts.

What factors help you decide whether to keep a vendor? Does Carepoint use a regularly scheduled process to evaluate its vendors?
Carepoint’s contracts are typically either a three- or one-year contract, depending on the nature of the vendor. We evaluate those contracts at renewal time to determine if we still want to stay with that vendor.

More importantly, we are member driven. Our members dictate to us which contracts they use, which ones they want to use, and which vendors are good. That means we rely heavily on member feedback. For example, let’s say Carepoint does not have a contract for carpet cleaning. If we have members come to us asking for a good, quality contracted vendor for carpet cleaning to get a better price, this tells us we need find a contract with a good, trustworthy vendor that can offer a good deal. So Carepoint is entirely member driven. We love member feedback. We get feedback as they talk to the account manager. Members email us, or talk to us through other ways. That’s what directs our company.

What would you say to potential customers that might wonder if Carepoint, as a Utah-based company, offers contracts with vendors in other parts of the country?
About ninety percent of our contracts are national contracts with companies like 3M, McKesson, Henry Schein, Covidien—companies that are well known, established, and nationwide.

We also have regional contracts. Let’s go back to the example of carpet cleaning. You are probably not going to find a national company for carpet cleaning. Instead, we will find a regional company that works in a three- or four-state radius, and we will do a contract with them. Then we will find similar vendor in a different area and do a regional contract there. We have regional contracts throughout the United States for those services and products that a national company might not offer. Those cover about ten percent of our contracts, but the majority of our contracts are with national companies that provide service anywhere, be it an urban, rural, or metropolitan area—wherever where you might be.

You mentioned that Carepoint works with some big names in the industry. Those sorts of companies typically offer a wide range of products and sub-products. Does Carepoint’s website offer your members all of a vendor’s products, or only a limited selection?
Our website is not that extensive because we focus heavily on customer service. Instead of relying on a website, we want a member to call the case manager because contracts change all the time—and sometimes prices do, too. Our case manager will actually do a cost study for you. For example, a new doctor's office may come on that buys one hundred fifty products from McKesson. We will go through these line item by line item, comparing the cost of each item to see whether we can save money, then sit down with them to go over the report. They do not buy through us directly; they buy through the vendor. If our member logs on McKesson’s website, they will now have our contracted rates. That site will show if Carepoint contracts an item. They can go through the site’s catalog to see if these five items here have contract prices, so they know right there if they are getting a contracted price or not. If for some reason they see a non-contracted item, the member can call to ask whether it should be under contract, or if it is an outlier item without a contract. Having that case manager to do all of that for you is an invaluable service. We really focus on that customer service.

Do case managers contact members periodically to see whether they need more services from Carepoint?
Yes. They attempt to contact the practices by telephone, but that is hard to make work in the medical field. Most of the contact, then, comes through periodic emails offering services, and letting them know of updates going on with different contracts.

Does Carepoint focus more on particular types of medical practices?
Due to the nature of our contracts, we work with most any type of medical company, whether it is a surgical center facility like a nursing home, or a clinic. For example, we have several members such as eye doctors, or dentists, that we might not have as many contracts for their specialty. If you are a pediatrician, an orthopedic doctor, a family practitioner, or any of those, our contracts typically cover eighty to ninety percent of what theses practitioners buy because we are so widespread. So in some of those specialties, like an eye doctor, they buy certain products that we don't necessarily have contracts for, but we will help them wherever we can.

How does Carepoint handle cases where it lacks a contract a member needs? Do you refer them out to a network, or do you function rather as a one-stop shop, finding all products and services for your customers?
We definitely want to be there for customer service. Not so much a one-stop shop, but we do want to be a trusted advisor, so members will come to us and ask, “This is what I'm looking for. What can you do for us?” If we can help, we do. If we can't, we have other affiliate vendor options. We work with some co-ops specific to what the members are purchasing. They don't have as many options, but they do have quite good pricing for what their co-op is about because they are highly specialized. We will work with members like that. Again, we want to be there to help our members in any way we can, but you can't be everything to everyone. [Laughs.]

Healthcare Compliance Solutions reaches out to many smaller practices that would classify themselves as entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur yourself, Keith, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs trying to succeed when the state of the industry might make finding success more challenging?
That is a good question, and a broad one. Every business has its ups and downs, so part of what we do is examine what systems our members have in place, and whether the members have something systematic. If you do, and you are using that system, simply keep doing that, and those ups will come back at some point. Because of my background—and my passion for working with entrepreneurs in the small clinics, the small business people—we do have a newsletter that goes out monthly. The newsletter not only includes updates about our contracts, but we also provide articles that focus on management, or on different aspects of human resources. You and I have talked in particular, Lance, about changes in regulations and policy. We like to get those ideas out to our members as well because that all goes to the management of their company. It goes to how they run their company, whether it is about compliance, or basic management on how to be better managers, how they can run their business better.

It seems that Carepoint’s services help medical practices learn to do more with less. People from medical practices constantly tell me that they are just scrambling about to pick up all the pieces. With all the demands mounting on them, they often wonder, “What is my position anymore? I am taking on so many responsibilities. . .” Over time, they start dragging; they lose the passion, and the reason they went into that practice. Carepoint seems to help these people.
Right. We try to take some burden off their shoulders of making their procurement—where they get their supplies, their services—making that part easier, taking one thing off their shoulders. Like you said, everyone you talk to is being bombarded by tasks being added to them daily. Their job descriptions are getting longer all the time.

And not much more pay either.
That is true. Very true. It is an ongoing battle to maintain that balance. Obviously, we only work in one small area, but if we can take some of that burden off in that area, that is what we want to do.

Fantastic. How do you see Carepoint growing in the next five years?
Our growth in the last year has come from many smaller clinics. It is easy to aim to get with the bigger clinics that have, say, a hundred employees, but we recently found we could help the small clinics a great deal. It is very enjoyable to help a one- or two-man clinic, and see the benefit we can provide them. We have found many smaller clinics we can help. Their expenses may not be much from a dollar amount, but their expenses are substantial compared to their overall budget. Every little bit helps, and they are much more appreciative because it means so much more to them. So that smaller clinic covers a huge area of growth for us—smaller assisted living facilities, or smaller nursing homes, those kind of practices.

Last question. How can people learn more about joining Carepoint, that they may gain access to your case managers and pool of vendors? What is your website? Do you have a social media presence?
Well, I'm old school. [Laughs.] I am not a Millennial and hip like you are! We do have the website, www.carepointgp.com. The site has our email address and phone number. The easiest way to contact us is through email or phone. Then a case manager will follow up to walk the potential member through the process, and set up what is necessary if they would like a cost study. That is what they do on a regular basis. I like to think they do it well!

LANCE KING: On behalf of our readers, our viewers, and HCSI, I express appreciation to Keith Weaver of Carepoint for being with us today. I found our visit informative and enjoyable. His company offers an exciting service that makes operating a medical practice that much simpler and affordable. Carepoint offers time—more time to do what matters most: caring for your patients.


Please visit www.carepointgp.com to learn if Carepoint can help your practice. If you have any other questions, visit us at http://hcsiinc.com/, or email us at lking@hcsiinc.com. We will make sure your questions get to Keith. Thank you for your attention and your interest.

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