HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices, Understanding Required Changes

By: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esquire

medicare-logo-png_76289_20130416-356On November 19th we reported on notices having been received by United Healthcare Medicare Advantage physicians in several states informing them they were to be dropped from the Medicare Advantage network.

dollar signMost practices today are barely getting by financially. With declining reimbursement from government and private payors and increasing operating expenses associated with new mandates such as Meaningful Use and ICD-10, many practices are seeing profitability - and sometimes their own salaries - decline dramatically. Collecting every last dollar earned is critical to their future survival and success.

UHCGrouplogoBeginning in October, notices have been mailed to physicians by United Healthcare (UHC) providing a 90 day notice of termination from their Medicare Advantage (MA) networks in at least 10 states. Physicians have 30 days to appeal the termination and instructions are included with the letters.

Checkup ImageBusy healthcare practitioners are often asked to create and maintain database profiles related to credentialing which are in turn made available to consumers or plans. The list is growing.  With an increase in e-signing and check-box attestations, providers may be skipping some fine print.

Doctor with PatientAs rising healthcare costs push more Americans into high deductible plans, patient access professionals are tasked with navigating these patients through an unfamiliar landscape: the actual cost of healthcare service delivery.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) should work the way your physicians and practice staff work, fine-tuned over many years in response to thoughtful user engagement and feedback. If it doesn't, it’s time to find one that does—and to put it to work for you.

MGMA LogoIn a biting statement to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) urged the governing body to extend the 2015 MU reporting period into 2016.  The association is concerned, that due to the “significantly delayed” final rule, medical groups will not have enough time to report.

Patient Engagement is a new buzz phrase being thrown around healthcare with increasing regularity. Like most industry speak, it takes a simple concept - making patients feel engaged in the process of staying healthy - and makes it seem complicated and hard to do. It isn’t. In fact, it is easy - one could even liken “patient engagement” to the golden rule. Treat your patients as you would like to be treated. Only by the full participation of patients in the process of their care will we achieve the ultimate “triple aim” of healthcare according to the Institute for Healthcare Reform:

slide1_imgThere is a class of healthcare consumers that are unique in their needs and substantial in the resources they require. These individuals will likely suffer from multiple health issues, lack a good support system, and be disproportionately prone to requiring care on an emergent basis.