What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties?

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A look at the nature and numbers of HIPAA breaches over just the couple of years makes stark reading: On the one hand, in terms of numbers; 2016, with about 16 million records breached was a pretty good year compared to the previous year, in which about seven times that number, more than 113 million, were breached. But the bad news is that 2016 saw more Covered Entities reporting breaches than in any other year since the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) started publishing its data on healthcare record breaches.

These huge numbers show that not only is there a big demand for these records in the black market -they are in greater demand than even social security and credit cards -Covered Entities and Business Associates need to all that it takes to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties.

What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties4

The federal government has not been lax on this aspect. It is being extremely vigilant about protecting healthcare records. It has been consistently urging the HHS to take a serious view of the increased incidence of cyberattacks that has resulted in medical records theft and has suggested many measures towards ensuring this. The fact that there has been a steady increase in the global spending on cybersecurity-related hardware, software, and services and could reach $100 billion in 2020, according to estimates by the International Data Corporation (IDC), suggests the seriousness with which this issue is being viewed not just in the US, but all over the world.

One of the primary requirements that Business Associates need to comply with is adherence to HIPAA mandates regarding the handling and use of health information. This is spelt out in the HITECH Act, a recent update made to overall HIPAA regulations. It is mandatory for a Business Associate to comply with a wide range of regulatory obligations, which include certain privacy obligations, security standards, and breach notification requirements.

What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties2

However, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding among Business Associates about their roles and requirements. They must be completely knowledgeable about all the aspects of their roles, functions and requirements before they enter into agreements of contracts with subcontractors and vendors for their services

Learning about ways of avoiding HIPAA fines and penalties

Jay Hodes, who is President and Founder, Colington Security Consulting, LLC, will be providing thorough understanding of the roles and requirements of a Business Associate and Covered Entities in HIPAA enforcement at a webinar that is being organized by MentorHealth, a leading provider of professional trainings for the healthcare industry. Please visit What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties? to get complete clarity of the ways of avoiding HIPAA fines and penalties.

Clarity on how to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties

What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties1

The aim of this learning session is to help businesses understand what it means to be a Business Associate and know what required safeguards, policies and procedures must be in place or make sure that their current compliance program is adequate and can withstand government scrutiny.

Jay will highlight the importance of being compliant with the HIPAA requirements for an organization if it has to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties. The ways by which a Business Associate or Covered Entity can provide the appropriate patient rights and controls on its uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information (PHI) and what all it has to have in place for doing so, will all be explained.

He will cover the following areas at this session:

  • Why was HIPAA created?
  • Who Must Comply with HIPAA Requirements?
  • What are the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules?
  • What are the Consequences of being a Business Associate
  • What is a HIPAA Compliance Program for a Business Associate?
  • What is a HIPAA Risk Management Plan?
  • What is a HIPAA Risk Assessment?
  • What is the Role of the HIPAA Security Official?
  • What are HIPAA training requirements?
  • What is a HIPAA data breach and what happens if it occurs?
  • What are the penalties and fines for non-compliance and how to avoid them
  • Case Examples of HIPAA Data Breaches
  • Creating a Culture of Compliance
  • Q&A.

 

 

With Macy Foundation Grant, Drexel Teams with 12 Institutions to Enhance Professionalism in Medical Education

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The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has awarded a grant to Drexel University faculty to support the dissemination and enhancement of an online resource for teaching future health care providers about professionalism in medicine — including empathy, compassion, honesty, ethics and social justice.

Dennis Novack, MD, associate dean of medical education at the College of Medicine, was previously awarded a grant to create ProfessionalFormation.org (PFO), an online resource for professionalism learning, assessment, remediation and research in clinical education. With the support of the Macy Foundation, Novcack and Kymberlee Montgomery, DNP, chair of the Department of Advanced Practice Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, are working with a variety of institutions to disseminate and enhance this resource for over 30 health care education schools across the country.

“This generous grant will enable us to address the challenge of generating new educational resources for the entire health care education community. We will also publish educational research that contributes to a growing national understanding of the components of effective teaching and learning of professionalism and interprofessional care,” Novack said.

Teaming up with Drexel University are 12 institutions including: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Commonwealth Medical College, Duquesne University, Indiana University, Jefferson College, Ohio State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Stony Brook, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley and Western Michigan University School of Medicine. Each of these institutions is affiliating with colleges, such as nursing, pharmacy, physician assistants, dentistry and others for this unique collaboration.

“Leaders in health professions education have worried about the professional image of health care clinicians, and the public’s declining trust in health professionals. Managed care has grown, clinical care has become more fragmented, and there has been adverse publicity about errors in care,” Montgomery said. “A new paradigm for care demands commitments to professional values, and skills in working in teams. We are partnering with these institutions to enhance and expand their education in professionalism and interprofessional care. To practice together, it is essential to learn together.”

The American Board of Medical Specialties defines medical professionalism as a “belief system in which group members declare to each other and the public the shared competency standard and ethical values they promise to uphold in their work and what the public and individual patients can and should expect from medical professionals.” Central to those decelerations is a focus on an ethical value system, the knowledge and technical skills necessary for good medical practice and the interpersonal skills necessary for working with patients and colleagues.

Read More: http://snip.ly/4km9u#http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2017/September/Macy-Foundation-Grant-Professionalism/

Rise in HIV diagnoses among people over 50 in Europe

Rise in HIV dia

Between 2004 and 2015, the number of new HIV diagnoses increased by 2.1% each year among this age group, with people over 50 accounting for 17.3% of new HIV cases diagnosed in Europe in 2015.

Experts argue sexual health programs should increasingly target this demographic, as well as the younger population.

“Our findings suggest a new direction in which the HIV epidemic is evolving,” said Lara Tavoschi, a scientific officer at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), who led the study published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet HIV. “We see a steady increase in the number of new (HIV) diagnoses among older adults in the region.”

The route of transmission was mostly heterosexual, Tavoschi confirmed.

“We need to increase awareness campaigns among older age groups,” she told CNN.

Rise for some, fall for others

Using routine annual surveillance data from 31 countries, reported to the European Surveillance System between 2004 and 2015, the team at the ECDC analyzed new HIV diagnoses among people aged 15 and above.

The rate of HIV diagnosis among people over 50 increased in 16 countries, including Germany, Ireland and Belgium, and decreased in just one country, Portugal.

Rates were highest in Estonia, Latvia and Malta, where more than seven new cases were diagnosed per 100,000 older people by 2015. Numbers also increased among younger people in these countries, aged 15 to 49 years.

In certain countries, however, such as the United Kingdom and Norway, new diagnoses went down among young people, but increased in the over-50 population, with more than a 3.6% increase in newly diagnosed HIV cases each year in both of these nations.

“This is a result of successful awareness campaigns that may not have targeted older adults enough,” Tavoschi said, speculating on one reason behind the trend.

England has a national HIV prevention program in place, for example, using local activities and social marketing to promote national HIV testing weeks and a campaign called “It starts with me” to increase testing and condom use, reduce stigma and inform people about sexually transmitted infections and practicing safe sex.

Previous studies have shown a stigma attached to older people having a sex life being at play, added Tavoschi, and the lack of sex assumed among this age group “is not a real reflection of what is happening in this group today,” she said, preventing health care providers from discussing sexual health with older patients.

The data also showed that while diagnoses among men are rising among younger and older people across Europe, the numbers are decreasing among younger women, but increasing among older ones. For now, “it’s unknown why,” Tavoschi told CNN.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/hhins#http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/26/health/hiv-increase-among-older-50s-europe-study/index.html

A range of exercises and medications can help with fibromyalgia

A range of exercises and

Dear Doctor: My daughter, who is in her 40s, has fibromyalgia. Is there any cure for this painful condition, or any natural remedies? I hate to see her suffer.

Dear Reader: The word “suffer” perfectly sums up fibromyalgia, and my heart goes out both to your daughter and to you, who can see the condition’s terrible effect on her. A chronic pain disorder initially termed “fibrositis syndrome” in the mid-19th century, fibromyalgia has been an official diagnosis only since 1990. The condition causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, as well as sleep problems and difficulties in concentration and with memory.

In the United States, 2 to 3 percent of the population suffers from fibromyalgia, with women affected twice as often as men. Blood tests can’t detect fibromyalgia, so the diagnosis is based on a person’s symptoms, including the tender points identified during a physical examination. That said, people with fibromyalgia have shown abnormal biochemical responses to painful stimuli, and those responses can help guide treatment.

The first step in treating fibromyalgia is to understand the illness and what triggers a flair of symptoms. Anxiety and depression are common with fibromyalgia, and the resulting emotional stress can create a cycle of worsening pain and even lower energy levels.

Let’s take a look first at non-medical interventions. Practicing good sleep hygiene is vital because poor sleep can worsen fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and trigger the cycle mentioned above. Relaxation techniques and therapy can relieve anxiety and depression, while meditation training can ease pain. Further, reflexology and acupuncture have each shown benefits in small studies at easing a variety of symptoms.

Exercise is a crucial component of therapy. Multiple studies have shown that it decreases pain, increases flexibility and boosts energy. Note that if exercise is too vigorous or of high impact, it may cause a flair of symptoms. The key is to start slowly with low-impact exercise, such as walking, biking, swimming or water aerobics. As symptoms improve, patients can increase their level of exercise.

Although they don’t cure the illness, various drugs and supplements can improve specific symptoms.

Read More: http://snip.ly/hdpbv#http://elkodaily.com/lifestyles/a-range-of-exercises-and-medications-can-help-with-fibromyalgia/article_39f0864b-c24a-5926-bcdd-c02488b1b52c.html

Man (35) in vegetative state for 15 years ‘showing signs of consciousness’

Man (35) in vegetative

A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years is showing signs of consciousness after receiving a pioneering treatment based on nerve stimulation.

In the month since a vagus nerve stimulator was put into his chest, the man, who was injured in a car accident, has begun responding to simple orders that had been impossible before.

The findings reported in Current Biology may help to show that by stimulating the vagus nerve “it is possible to improve a patient’s presence in the world”, according to lead researcher Angela Sirigu of Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod in Lyon, France.

The researchers say it may challenge the view that a vegetative state which lasts for more than 12 months is irreversible.

“Other scientists have hailed it as “a potentially very exciting finding” but have also urged caution.

After treatment, it was reported the patient could follow an object with his eyes, turn his head on request and his mother said there was an improved ability to stay awake when listening to his therapist reading a book.

The vagus nerve connects the brain to many other parts of the body, including the gut.

It is known to be important in waking, alertness, and many other essential functions.

The patient, who was picked because he had been lying in a vegetative state for more than a decade with no sign of improvement, also appeared to react to a “threat”.

Researchers spotted that he reacted with surprise by opening his eyes wide when the examiner’s head suddenly approached his face.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/sfxny#http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/man-35-in-vegetative-state-for-15-years-showing-signs-of-consciousness-36173341.html

FDA approves first commercial product for peanut allergy prevention

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The approach towards preventing peanut allergies has changed dramatically in recent years. Now the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first commercial product, called Hello, Peanut!, to help inform the public that early peanut introduction and regular consumption can reduce the risk of peanut allergy in young children.

The Hello, Peanut! introduction kit offers convenience in the form of packets of peanut powder blended with oat given in increasing quantities for seven days, as long as children tolerate it well. After which maintenance packets are recommended for use up to three times a week. The introduction kit is $25, and the maintenance kit sells for $20 for eight packets.

The FDA decision was informed by the landmark Learning Early About Peanut Allergy study published in 2015. It showed that high-risk children who regularly consumed peanut in infancy had far fewer peanut allergies by age 5 than their counterparts who avoided peanut over the same span of time. This understanding led to new guidelines published in 2017 by National Institutes of Health about giving peanut to babies to protect against peanut allergy.

Infants who have severe eczema or egg allergy are considered at high-risk of developing a peanut allergy. By offering peanut early in life – between 4-6 months of age – and continuing with regular consumption, we can prevent the onset of peanut allergy in many of these children. High-risk children should see their doctor before parents introduce peanut protein in any form. The physician may decide to do skin or blood testing.  If the test is negative, age-appropriate peanut products can be given at home. However, if a child tests positive, introduction to peanut is done under clinical supervision. If the child is deemed already allergic to peanuts, the guidelines recommend strict avoidance of peanut and ready access to epinephrine auto-injectors.

Read More: http://snip.ly/ktety#http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kids-families/fda-approves-first-commercial-product-for-peanut-allergy-prevention-20170926.html

Healthcare’s Dangerous Fee-For-Service Addiction

Healthcare's Dangerous Fee-Fo

For its many users, healthcare’s fee-for-service reimbursement methodology is like an addiction, similar to gambling, cigarette smoking and pain pill abuse. Doctors and hospitals in the clutches of this flawed payment model have grown dependent on providing more and more healthcare services, regardless of whether the additional care adds value.

I don’t use this metaphor lightly, nor wish to trivialize our nation’s growing problem with addiction. Rather, as a physician and former healthcare CEO, I am increasingly concerned with the impact this payment structure is having on American health. And I worry about whether providers are willing to “kick the habit” before it’s too late.

Addictive Qualities

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 2010, included several provisions encouraging doctors to focus on increasing value (instead of simply maximizing the volume) of healthcare services. And yet, seven years later, between 86% and 95% of U.S. healthcare providers are still paid for each individual test, procedure and treatment they provide, an arrangement that continues to drive up healthcare costs with little to show for it. According to the latest Commonwealth Fund report, the United States spends more on healthcare than any other industrialized country but ranks at or near the bottom in almost every measure of comparative quality.

As with any addiction, America’s dependence on fee-for-service has dire financial and health consequences. This year, the estimated cost of care for an insured family of four will reach nearly $27,000, paid for through a combination of employer health insurance ($15,259), payroll deductions ($7,151) and out-of-pocket expenses at the point of care ($4,534). Year over year, patients are on the hook for a higher percentage of their total healthcare costs, which rose 4.3% compared to just a 1.9% increase in the U.S. GDP last year. This is a major warning sign. If medical costs continue to surge 2% to 3% higher than our nation’s ability to pay, the healthcare system will soon reach a breaking point. Businesses, the government and insurers will have no choice but to ration care or slowly eliminate coverage for the nation’s poor, middle-class and elderly populations.

As with all addictions, the fee-for-service model has mind-altering effects, distorting the perceptions of its users in ways that make them unaware of their growing dependence. When providers are paid for doing more, that’s what they do: They increase utilization of services and ratchet up the cost of care without even realizing they’re part of the problem. According to one study, just 36% of practicing physicians were willing to accept “major” responsibility for reducing healthcare costs. Of course, the first step, as with other habits, is to recognize the problem. Only then can we explore treatment options.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/hlh5h#https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2017/09/25/fee-for-service-addiction/&refURL=&referrer=