Author Archives: melanierivera

Maryland’s Cignet Health Hit with $4.3 Million Fine for HIPAA Violations

The Obama administration has promised to be tougher when it comes to enforcing HIPAA laws. This week a Maryland health service company gained the dubious honor of being the first company or entity to be assessed a Department of Health and Human Services CMP – Civil Money Penalty. And with that penalty assessed at $4.3 million, obviously this should be a sign to all connected with HIPAA transactions that yes, this administration does mean business.

Cignet Health failed to honor the access to medical records requests of 41 of their patients between September 2008 and October of 2009. The company’s failure to cooperate with the subsequent investigation by HHS OCR (Office of Civil Rights) officials earned them another $3 million in fines at the end of the day. According to the official press release about the matter it was the HHS’s position that Cignet had displayed a willful neglect to the basic privacy rules laid down by HIPAA.

“Ensuring that Americans’ health information privacy is protected is vital to our health care system and a priority of this administration,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Common Misconceptions About HIPAA Heard at Smaller Medical Faculties

If you are a fully trained HIPAA professional whose day to day existence revolves around maintaining compliance this post is not for you. If on the other hand you are a busy member of staff at a doctors office or other smaller medical facility it probably is, since even after all these years there is still a huge amount of confusion about what does and does not constitute a HIPAA violation. Here are some of the most common myths about HIPAA compliance that are heard in medical facilities across the country over and over again:

HIPAA only regulates electronically transmitted data – Oh if only it were so, the life of a HIPPA compliance officer (and anyone else in the medical field) would be so much easier. But no, HIPAA applies to all forms of communication: written, verbal and any form of electronic transmission, including personal e mail notes and social networking posts.

If improperly released information is not exploited, there is no violation of the law – In many of the cases of improperly released PI that have hit the headlines over the last several years no one had any way of telling how and if patient data had been been exploited after the release of information but they still got hit with the big fines and penalties. It is the act of improperly releasing the information that is the violation.

Dentists, optometrists, nurses, and pharmacists are exempted from HIPAA regulations – We actually heard this one – from an individual employed in one of the aforementioned professions -and were flabbergasted. HIPAA governs anyone and everyone who creates or handles patient records – right down to the high school kid who works part time filing charts. Hopefully the professional who was under this misguided impression has now taken a serious crash course in HIPAA compliance.

Little HIPAA violations don’t matter, no one will ever find out – This is unfortunately the mentality of many employees in smaller medical offices. In fact though all it takes is one patient complaint and the whole office will be under serious scrutiny. And just as a reminder, the maximum fines and penalties for failure to comply with the HIPAA laws are $250,000 and 10 years imprisonment. Not to mention the damage the resultant inevitable bad publicity will have on any practice in both the short and the long term.

HIPPA Violations Scarier than Surgical Fires?

Wonder just how worried hospital administrators are about potential HIPAA breeches due to IT failure and mistakes? According to a poll taken and published by Healthcare IT News worried enough to put IT failures at number five on their Top Ten list of general technology hazards an institution might face.

According to that report the prospect of a data disaster that leads to a costly HIPPA breech is scarier than luer mis connections, over sedation, needle sticks, surgical fires and defibrillator failures.

Is this a bit of an over reaction? Surgical fires and needle sticks sound a lot more serious than data loss. However given the increasing number of HIPPA violations reported around the country in 2010 and in many cases the costly fines and horrendous publicity that came with them make this kind of concern understandable.

Some of these violations would never have been prevented by even the most sophisticated of IT security systems though. Take the recent reports about a physician who transmitted a great deal of personal patient information via email to his home in a completely insecure and unencrypted manner.

There was no malice involved, the man was merely trying to have the information at hand to review properly at the end of his long day. The story though highlighted the continuing need for the education of everyone who handles PI in what is and is not allowable under the HIPPA rules and regulations.

Happy New Year! Great HIPAA Jobs for 2011

The New Year is right around the corner and most of us will be thinking, as we do every year, about changing a few things in keeping with the spirit of the season. If one of those things is finding a better job in the HIPAA field we have done some of the work for you, finding once again some of the best opportunities out there.

Attorney -Group Health Insurance/HIPAA Job

Location: New Jersey

This Part-Time Attorney position will support Insurance Services daily legal needs including: carrier contract negotiations, HIPAA advice, Group Health and Workman’s comp Insurance advice and review of Business Associate Agreements and associated issues, assist in resolution of client issues, support insurance regulatory compliance processes and procedures, support product development with insurance regulatory reviews. Provide general business guidance as it relates to insurance regulatory and compliance matters. Advise on HIPAA compliance and update evolving policies and procedures as needed to maintain compliance with HIPAA.

Learn more about this HIPPA job here

Clinical Information Project Manager

Company: Sanford Health

Location: Sioux Falls, SD

The Project Manager will gather, analyze, design, develop, modify, test, implements evaluates, and maintain clinical information handling technologies: That collect data to support clinical practice That use data to support clinical decision-making That provide for identification of outcomes To develop plans for achieving identified outcomes To assist and document testing, training, activation and implementation of the plan To provide for outcome measurement and evaluation To communicate project progress and outcomes to appropriate health system departments & personnel. These job duties will be carried out using a high level of customer service while promoting and participating in the team approach

Apply for this opportunity here

Director of Compliance and HIPAA Officer

Company:Berger Health System

Location:Circleville, OH US

The Director of Compliance/HIPAA Officer oversees the Corporate Compliance Program, functioning as an independent and objective body that reviews and evaluates compliance issues/concerns within the organization and serves as the HIPAA Officer for Berger Health System and its entities. The position ensures the Board of Governors, management and employees are in compliance with the rules and regulations of regulatory agencies, that organization policies and procedures are being followed, and that behavior in the organization meets the organization’s Code of Conduct. This person will also assure that processes, policies, documentation and training are in place for full HIPAA compliance.

Learn more about this position here

Patient Accounting Analyst – HIPAA 5010 compliance Specialist

Company :CyberCoders Engineering

Location:Chicago, IL US

What you need for this position:
• In-Depth understanding of Patient Accounting
• EDI experience including ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS
• Expert knowledge of Implementation Guides for HIPAA 5010
• ASC X12 affiliations, work group involvement, and network of other EDI experts
• Familiarity with multiple patient accounting systems (such as MedSeries4, Meditech, Invision, Epic Resolute, Affinity, GE Flowcast, or Allscripts)
• Available for Travel Monday through Thursday

To apply for this position click here

HIPAA Compliance Program Manager

Company: First Solution USA

Location: New London, CT

Our client, located near the Connecticut shore offers a full-time, direct hire, permanent job opportunity. Highly visible leadership role with hospital seeking a Program Manager to ensure compliance with all aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including but not limited to all current rules and regulations that have been instituted since the original act was instituted in 1996. The position requires development of a formal program that will ensure rapid implementation of new rules and regulations throughout the corporation, as well as ongoing activities that ensures this hospital is maintaining its compliance with all rules and regulations and actively working to reduce or to eliminate its exposure and risk in areas of non-compliance.
Reporting to the Vice President/General Counsel, you will influence, recommend and provide guidance and counsel to all leaders and staff within the hospital on HIPAA related matters.

To apply for this position click here

How Safe Is the Data in my EHR and Practice Management System?

Dr. Sharham Famorzadeh, Nuesoft’s Chief Technology Officer, explains the security benefits of medical practice management systems that run in the cloud, and addresses common concerns related to cloud computing. Do you agree? would you consider a cloud based practice management system?