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.

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.  
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.

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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Advanced MD Interview
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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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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..


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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Proactive Compliance Begins with Early Training

Compliance training is not an end of the year check list item

It is the last week of December and Stephanie has just begun to do her compliance training for the year. She had not progressed too far into the training when she was pulled away in order to help a co-worker. Two days later, Stephanie tries to continue with her compliance training, but runs into an unforeseen technical issue. Another day passes before the technical issue is resolved and she can continue with her compliance training. Stephanie's anxiety is beginning to rise as she only has two more days before the end of the year to complete her training.

At the end of last year, I received many phone calls from healthcare professionals who needed assistance trying to complete their required compliance training before the end of the year. These people's emotions ranged from anxious and panicked to the always fall back emotion of, "oh well, I'm not the one who will be held liable if some thing happens".

There are many areas of compliance where Healthcare Professionals are required to have annually documented compliance training. These areas include, but are not limited to HIPAA, OSHA, and Medicare. In the case of an audit, it is always the recommend practice to have all of your compliance training documents reflect the current year.

Having a proactive approach to compliance is the best way to protect your office against possible liability and a proactive approach begins with early in the year compliance training. Give yourself the peace of mind knowing that your office has its compliance training done for the current year.

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