BMN Blog

AUG 14
What Makes a VoIP Phone System HIPAA Compliant? By Christina Southern, C Spire Business in Technology

VoIP is a game-changer for the healthcare industry’s communication landscape, allowing for quicker, more reliable communication. However, it also brings with it a multitude of HIPAA concerns that can be confusing to navigate.

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AUG 06
The Amazon-ification of Healthcare By Joni Wyatt, MHA, MHIA, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, Healthcare Advisor in Business

Yesterday, I received a text from my eye doctor informing me that I have not scheduled my yearly exam and need to make an appointment. The notification was an electronic version of the Annual Patient Postcard reminders. But unlike the old postcards, the text included links to automatically call the office or direct me to visit self-scheduling. Booking that appointment has been on my to-do list for weeks, but I seem to only remember to do it after the office has closed. Yet, with one click and about two minutes of my time, the mission was accomplished. That’s when it dawned on me – healthcare is going “Amazon.”

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AUG 02
PIRC: One Year Later By Cynthia “Cindy” Jones, LPC-S Director, Psychiatric Intake Response Center at Children’s of Alabama in Clinical

The Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) at Children’s of Alabama has completed its inaugural year of operations, assisting more than 5,000 patients and callers seeking mental health expertise for children, adolescents and their families in central Alabama. The PIRC, established in March 2018 as a collaboration between Children’s and the Anne B. LaRussa Foundation of Hope, is one of only three centers of its kind in the U.S. We are dedicated to identifying the right care at the right time and at the right place.

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JUL 17

While it’s easy to shop around for the best price on a car or the cheapest gallon of milk, it can be nearly impossible to predict what your medical bill will be following a procedure or hospital visit, regardless of your health insurance coverage.

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JUL 15

It is that time of year again - pool parties, camping, hiking, yard work, and picnics. Along with increased time outdoors comes the risk of an insect sting. While insect stings occur regularly, only about two to three percent of patients will experience an anaphylactic reaction. These anaphylactic reactions occur more commonly in adults than in children. A majority of these patients do not seek medical care. 

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JUL 11

As financial advisors, we help our clients to consider and plan not only for their own goals, but also for some of life’s serious “what ifs.” What if you want to retire early? What if you want to buy a vacation home? What if your child is planning to attend graduate school? What if you need long-term care?  What if you are raising a young family and you get cancer?

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JUL 08

The “just right” theme repeated in the classic fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears hits close to home at Children’s of Alabama’s Pediatric Imaging Center (PIC), where services are tailored especially for kids. Every inch of the PIC, located at Children’s South Pediatric Outpatient Center in Birmingham, is designed with children in mind to ensure their experience is “just right.”

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JUN 26
I have a meniscus tear, now what? By Dewey Jones, IV, MD in Clinical

One of the most common operations in orthopaedics and sports medicine is surgery for a torn meniscus. I get a lot of questions about what this surgery involves, how long it takes to recover, and when it should be done.

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JUN 19

Sound processes are essential to the success of any business. This is even more important in healthcare, where the ever-changing environment makes process improvement vital in order for a practice to prosper.

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JUN 17

Recently, a friend in the pharmaceuticals business asked me about SGLT-2 Inhibitors. He wanted to know what a nephrologist thought of the drugs, and I expressed strong misgivings about potential complications.  

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JUN 13
Are your Portable Devices Safe? By Curtis Woods, President at Integrated Solutions, LLC in Technology

Over the last few years, cell phones have become computers, capable of much of the functionality that your office computer has. This is also true for small portable devices such as iPads, Windows and Android tablets. Are these devices and applications as secure as those you use from your clinic? In most cases, the answer is no.

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JUN 07
Heat Injury By Norwood Clinic in Clinical

As the temperatures spike this summer, the risk of heat-related injury such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion also rise. While the temperatures are hard to avoid, there are ways to recognize symptoms and prevent heat-injury. People who tend to be more at risk are young children and infants, people over the age of 65 and those who are overweight or have a preexisting illness. It is important to note that some medications can also make you more sensitive to sun exposure and heat.

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MAY 17
HIPAA Myths and Misconceptions By Loretta Duncan, FACMPE in Business

Trying to comply with HIPAA can be a challenge for healthcare providers, especially when there is so much confusion about specific aspects of the rules. Policyholders contact SVMIC almost every day for assistance with HIPAA-related issues. In fielding those calls and emails, we have identified some commonalities.

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MAY 08
Listening to Improve Relationships and Outcomes By Margaret Cook, CMPE – Healthcare Advisor, Kassouf & Co., P.C. in Business

As our society transitioned to mobile phones, a frequently overheard question and related advertising theme was “Can you hear me now?”

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MAY 03

What if a microscopic amount of food protein you accidentally ingested quickly resulted in life threatening symptoms such as hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing? This is a serious reality for patients with food allergies and results in a constant anxiety and fear of accidental ingestion. Many are never able to eat out at restaurants, go to baseball games, fly on planes, attend movies, or simply have the option to eat at any table in a cafeteria without fear. This not only affects the patients, but their families as well.

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MAY 01

Over the past several years the healthcare industry has become the number one target of cyberattacks. These attacks have exposed tens of millions of customers’ identities worldwide, costing an estimated $1 billion USD in losses.

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APR 17

The Apple Watch and other wearables are now able to monitor your heart rhythm. The Apple watch can detect irregular heart rhythms, and if it does so five times, it will prompt you to record your rhythm. In that way, it can also be used to diagnose atrial fibrillation.

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MAR 20

 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulates pharmaceutical hazardous waste. Under the EPA, unused and disposed of pharmaceuticals are evaluated, managed and disposed of as potential “hazardous waste” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Regulations. The RCRA establishes procedures and standards for hazardous and solid waste material management and disposal. Under the RCRA, solid waste includes “solids, liquids and gases and must be discarded to be considered waste.”[i]

 

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MAR 19
Healthcare Staff: Are You Prepared for an Active Shooter? By Teresa Fields, Debbie Franklin, Marie Howatt, and Lisa Rawlings. in Business

We have heard a lot from the media on active shooter events throughout the U.S., but how many of these include healthcare facilities? The Homeland Security and the FBI define “active shooter” as “an event where one or more persons actively engage in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Statistics show active shooter incidents involving healthcare facilities are less common than other events, but they can occur, so planning may save lives.

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MAR 13

Like customers in most other industries, patients are turning to the internet to learn about physicians before seeking treatment. The following tips will help your practice manage your physician’s online identity in order to maximize the benefit and reduce the risks associated with online information.

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FEB 27
Rising Trends in AFIB By Corey M. Coleman, MD in Clinical

Atrial fibrillation (AFIB), a condition in which the heart fires so rapidly that the upper chambers quiver instead of beating in a normal rhythmic pattern, is the now most common arrhythmia condition worldwide and is recognized as a global health problem with its burden of morbidity and mortality resulting from embolic stroke. AFIB is expected to double by 2030.

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FEB 22

Vince Lombardi once said football is not a contact sport. Dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport. He was right. And when you or your family members are involved in collision sports like football (or soccer, wrestling, basketball, mountain biking, etc.) your shoulders may pay the price. Contact injuries to the shoulder are a common cause of down-time and occasionally result in surgery. What is the best management for these injuries?

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FEB 21

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a disease process in which plaque buildup causes the arteries to narrow, resulting in reduced blood flow to the limbs. This can lead to a variety of medical emergencies: Claudication, stroke, uncontrolled hypertension, and possibly amputation.

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FEB 12

In 2012, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) became commercially available in the US to treat high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis. It offered effective, minimally invasive, and often lifesaving treatment to tens of thousands of patients who previously had no option for aortic valve replacement surgery.

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JAN 25

A recent global study by the Ponemon Institute finds that the financial damage caused by a data breach has risen by 6.4 percent in the last year and now costs companies an average of $3.86 million each.

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JAN 22
Hyper Adoption – Too Many Options, So Little Time By Joni Wyatt, MHA, MHIA, CPHIMS, FHIMSS in Business

In 2016 Forrester Research analysts focused their attention on emerging social phenomenon in consumer behavior. They identified several key social trends that are impacting our industry’s ability to adapt to changing policy, market trends and patient needs. One trend they observed was the rapid adoption of new solutions and the abandonment of solutions that didn’t immediately provide value. This trend was seen across all industries.

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JAN 18

When I speak with a patient regarding knee replacement or hip replacement surgery, he/she often asks in detail about the post-surgical rehab. In my specialty of orthopaedics, rehabilitation is critical to the success of the surgery. However, one of the major risks, although uncommon, facing surgery patients is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein. This complication is often overlooked, and can be fatal when symptoms are ignored. 

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JAN 09

Regulation Background

The False Claims Act (“FCA” or “Act”) is a federal anti-fraud statute that protects against persons and companies defrauding the government. The Act has been dubbed the government’s “primary litigation tool for recovering losses resulting from fraud.”[1] The FCA imposes civil liability on any one who “knowingly presents…a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval” to the federal government.[2] It is used extensively to protect against fraud in healthcare.[3]

 

 

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DEC 05

At this point, nearly every American has heard about the opioid crisis. With increasing scrutiny from governing bodies regarding opioids, pain physicians are tested in treating patients in the challenging chronic pain population. While non-opioid medications, therapy and procedures have their place in treating chronic pain, what are physicians to do when patients fail all of these options? One treatment to consider is spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation.

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DEC 04
Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Units Coming to Alabama By Daniel R. Crumby, Esq., MBA, MHA, CHC & Andrew C. Knowlton in Regulatory

The Department of Justice designated 12 federal prosecutors across the country as part of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Units. These Units are assigned to areas where the most opioid drug-related deaths have occurred: California, Nevada, Alabama, Central Florida, East Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Maryland. Members of these Units also includes numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement and governing entities including the DEA, FBI, HHS, and other federal and state agencies (Medicaid Fraud Control Units, FDA, IRS, State Pharmacy Boards, etc.). These Units have a specific mandate to target physicians, pharmacists, and ancillary services (addiction treatment centers, etc.).  

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NOV 26
COACHES Program Brings Pediatric Training to Community Hospitals By Chrystal Rutledge, MD, Kristen Waddell, MSN, CRNP, CCRN & Stacy Gaither, MSN, RN Children’s of Alabama Community Healthcare Education Simulation Program in Clinical

Two years ago, the Children’s of Alabama Community Healthcare Education Simulation Program, or COACHES, launched with a mission of improving pediatric care in community hospitals throughout Alabama.

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NOV 19
What is the future of Private Equity in Healthcare? By Jerry Callahan, CPA with Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg and Moore, P C in Business

During my 30 years in healthcare consulting, I have seen several reform initiatives come and go.

 

In many cases, the initiatives have enhanced the ability of consumers to access insurance coverage and ultimately healthcare. In 1993, President Clinton proposed legislation that led to growth in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and also the HIPAA privacy standards which are still in place today. In the 2000s, President George Bush proposed changes to the Medicare program that led to the implementation of Medicare Part D coverage.

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NOV 05

A look at the calendar tells us that we only have a short time left in 2018. That means many practices will be looking to complete their Security Risk Assessments in order to either qualify for the 2018 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or to simply fulfill their obligations to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule.

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OCT 30

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was created in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to remind us that each we all have the power to make the Internet safer.

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OCT 11

2017 was the first year for participation in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a Quality Payment Program (QPP) implemented by CMS, to award or penalize participating clinicians with regard to future Medicare reimbursements based upon reporting under four categories:

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SEP 25
Children’s at Lakeshore collaborative marks new day in patient care By Drew Davis, M.D. UAB Associate Professor and Medical Director, Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at Children’s of Alabama in Clinical

On Sept. 6, representatives of Children’s of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and the Lakeshore Foundation gathered to cut the ceremonial red ribbon for the grand opening of Children’s at Lakeshore – the latest chapter in a partnership among the institutions.

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SEP 19
A Different Approach to Saving By David Ward, CFP Financial Advisor at Bridgeworth Financial in Business

A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 20 percent of Medicare participants 65 or older don’t take their blood pressure medicine as directed.1 Additionally, 20-30 percent of prescriptions for chronic health conditions are never filled and roughly 50 percent are not taken as recommended.1

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SEP 18
Neuropsychology: Understanding Cognition By DeLisa A. West, Ph.D., ABPP (CN), West Neuropsychology, LLC in Clinical

How often do you walk into a room and completely forget why you went into the room? Or do you struggle with remembering someone’s name a few seconds after they introduce themselves to you? It seems that these “senior moments” occur more frequently as we all get older. As a clinical neuropsychologist, I am often asked if this is normal aging or if it is a sign of a bigger problem such as Alzheimer’s disease. The field of neuropsychology is uniquely skilled to answer this very question. Clinical neuropsychology is a sub-field of psychology which examines the relationship between the brain and behavior. It uses neuroscience, neuroanatomy, cognitive psychology, cognitive science and clinical psychology to understand the structure and function of the brain in relation to behavior and the information processing aspects of the mind. Neuropsychologists help to assess, diagnosis and treat individuals with neurological, medical, developmental or psychiatric conditions across the lifespan. Neuropsychological testing can aid in understanding how different areas of the brain are working. Neuropsychologists use various standardized tests to objectively examine a person’s strengths and weaknesses in all areas of thinking or cognition. Tests may be paper-and-pencil, answering questions, computer-based or task oriented. Areas of cognitive impairment or deficit can be identified and placed within the context of the individual’s medical and psychological history in order to determine what condition may be impacting a person’s functioning and thinking. 

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SEP 10
Big Changes Proposed for Evaluation and Management Services By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC with Warren Averett in Business

It’s been more than twenty years since the 1997 revisions to Evaluation and Management guidelines, which focus mainly on physical examination. The 2019 proposed changes provide practitioners a choice in the basis of documenting E/M visits; alleviate the burdens, and focus attention on alternatives that better reflect the current practice of medicine.  The implementation of electronic medical records has allowed providers to document more information, yet repetitive templates, cloning, and other workflows have pushed the envelope on compliance in documenting the traditional elements of the visit.

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AUG 14
Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation By Nirman Bhatia, MD, FACC, RPVI Interventional/Structural Heart Cardiologist with HeartSouth Cardiovascular Group, PC in Clinical

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common abnormal heart rhythm which can cause adverse clinical outcomes such as stroke and heart failure. An estimated 2.7 to 6.1 million people have AF in the United States. As the prevalence of AF increases with increasing age, with an aging population, prevalence of AF is expected to double in the next 2-3 decades. People above the age of 40 years have a 1 in 4 chance of developing AF in their lifetime. Patients with AF are 6-7 times more likely than general population to suffer from a stroke.

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AUG 07

Many Alabama providers participated in the Quality Payment Program in 2017, under MIPS (Merit Based Incentive Program). A handful participated in a MIPS APM (Alternative Payment Model), which is a baby step towards alternative payments, but still left the participants free from downside risks. As we pass the half-way point for the 2018 performance period, exploring risk bearing programs is on the rise.

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JUL 30
EHR in the Cloud? – Make sure the I’s are Dotted and the T’s are Crossed By Curtis Woods President at Integrated Solutions, LLC in Technology

Is your EHR application in the cloud or are you considering moving to a cloud based provider? If so ensuring that you know the providers processes for data backup, disaster recovery and overall security are extremely important.

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JUL 11
Combatting fraud in the Medical Industry By Sarah Propper, CPA with Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore, P.C in Business

Fraud. It’s an ugly thing and it’s everywhere, the medical industry is no exception.  When most people think about fraud, they think about white collar criminals stealing millions of dollars from big name companies, or the “dark web” where most of our social security numbers and credit card numbers are floating around just waiting for a buyer.  The truth is most businesses will experience some type of fraud during their operation.  It is so important for owners and business managers to be constantly vigilant to protect their practices.

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JUL 10
How connectivity Powers Rural Care and Telehealth By Theresa Dudley, Healthcare Programs with Spectrum Enterprise in Technology

One of the greatest challenges facing the healthcare industry isn’t a political issue, it’s a geographic issue. What if I told you that approximately 50 million Americans (17 percent of the total population of the US) have limited access to high quality healthcare because they live in rural communities? Rural healthcare has a unique set of challenges including not only geographic but also economic and lifestyle factors.

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JUN 20
Prostate Cancer: Understanding Your Treatment Options By Bryant Poole M.D. & Andrew Strang M.D. with Urology Centers of Alabama, P.C. in Clinical

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. Although it is common, it is still one of the least well-known cancers and a diagnosis can cause confusion about treatment, symptoms, and potential side effects. In search of a minimally-invasive treatment for your prostate cancer? Through our partnership with Vituro Health, Urology Centers of Alabama is the first and only in the state to offer High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU treatment.

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JUN 11
Front Office Transformation – First Impressions Are Everything By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC, Healthcare Consultant with Warren Averett in Business

I recently visited a specialty practice at a major health system. As I approached the registration desk a posted sign directed me to a standing kiosk to sign in. The family member I accompanied to the visit was unable to stand at the kiosk, so I provided the needed information and signed her in.  Although it was a quick and seamless process, I was concerned because if I needed assistance, there were no employees to ask.  Many practices have implemented kiosk sign-ins and have someone to assist a patient with the process if needed.  Practice administrators have made the decision to implement kiosk to assure verification of the current insurance policy and prompt the patient to pay any out of pocket expense before they see the doctor.  Many of the kiosk solutions allow a pre-registration via email to allow the patient to populate data and upload information from their own device at their convenience.  Benefits of Kiosk Sign-ins include: reduction in the staffing at the front desk, decrease in patient wait time, and most impressively is the increase of time of service collections.

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JUN 07
Work-Arounds are Jeopardizing Your Patient Data By Christina Southern with TekLinks in Technology

One of the greatest challenges healthcare organizations face today is clinical application interoperability – the communication between computer systems, applications, or software to allow them to work in conjunction with one another.

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MAY 22

"I believe it was divine intervention that I was sent to Aspire Physical Recovery Center at Cahaba River. The therapy team brought me back to myself."

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MAY 16
ePHI Safeguards Requirements and Small Practices: What Physicians Need to Know By Hayley Scheer, J.D., LL.M. Health Law Attorney, Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP in Regulatory

It is especially important for smaller practices to be mindful of Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) security regulations – a breach of ePHI can lead to costly notification requirements and potential monetary penalties under the HITECH Act.[1]  Managing physicians of small independent practices hold many responsibilities, including the duty to comply with the Security Rule within HIPAA regulations.  This article provides a brief overview of federal ePHI compliance safeguards required in a practice.  While not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of all requirements, it highlights legal considerations and safeguards a practice must implement to comply with HIPAA ePHI regulations.  The federal Security Rule under HIPAA requires a health care provider (typically known as a Covered Entity[2]) to have the minimum ePHI safeguards, listed below.

 

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MAY 10
Annual Wellness Visits By Carrie Gulledge RHIA, Director of Electronic Health Records and Jennifer Woodward, Director of Operations with MediSYS in Business

As today’s healthcare drive pushes practices even further down the path of pay for performance versus the older models of pay for volume, administrators and executives throughout healthcare are researching and implementing ideas to provide an overall better experience for patients.

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MAY 08
Understanding Pelvic Organ Prolapse By Drs. Nicole Massie and Paula Rookis with Urology Centers of Alabama. in Clinical

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is the descent of one or more parts of the vagina and/or uterus. Woman may experience displacement of the anterior, posterior or apex of the vagina, and often there is a combination. This is referred to as a cystocele, rectocele and enterocele.

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APR 18
Are you sleeping well? By Sunil Goli, MD sleep medicine with Medical West in Clinical

Are you sleeping well? One in three Americans suffer from sleep-related issues. If you or someone you know suffers from a sleep disorder, there has never been a better time to find a solution. Lack of good sleep can be detrimental to one’s quality of life in many aspects. Untreated sleep disorders make it difficult to control other health conditions such as migraines, anxiety, depression, pain, and more. Poor sleep due to a disorder such as sleep apnea can also have negative effects on your social life, as you are too tired to participate in social activities. People who snore could also interrupt the sleep of their bed-partners!  Finally, sleep issues can lead to poor concentration, job performance, and lack of productivity.

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APR 16

In 2012, I read this article that made me question much of what I thought I knew about my profession of serving clients as a guide for their financial decisions. The designation following my name for which I had worked so hard at obtaining? Good, but not enough. The incredible technology –from complex financial forecasting to automated investment management?  Lacking. 

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APR 04
UPDATE - HHS Proposes New Rule Affecting LGBTQ Patients By Rhett Owens, Attorney with Hall Booth Smith, P.C in Regulatory

On Friday, January 19, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule that will complicate the issues healthcare providers face in providing treatment to LGBTQ patients.

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APR 03

According to the Ponemon Institute – www.ponemon.org  - the average cost of a data breach was $3.62 million dollars. This breaks down to $141 dollars per stolen record. International Data Corporation – www.idc.com – estimates that globally data storage will grow ten-fold by 2025 total of 163 zettabytes (a trillion gigabytes) by 2025. Data is stored in a vast range of devices including your smart phone, laptops, notebooks, workstations, tablets and even on your smart TV. Most businesses focus on the technical aspects of how to avoid data breaches (firewalls, anti-virus, security patches, etc.) and often how physical technical assets are destroyed at the end of their life are often overlooked or do not have a set process in place.

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MAR 26
Where’s Your Patient Data Hiding? By Robbie Morris, Teklinks in Technology

They were surprised, and you likely be will, too. Of the hundreds of healthcare organizations I’ve helped document HIPAA and meet compliance requirements, most are unaware that their Patient Health Information (PHI) is exposed in some way. If a cyber attacker took advantage of this situation, it could cause damage to your patients, bring giant HIPAA fines, and a loss of reputation.

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MAR 22
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: An Overview for Physicians By Mark Baker, Principal, Jackson Thornton CPAs and Consultants, January 9, 2018 in Business

The new tax reform law — commonly referred to as the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" (TCJA) — is the most significant tax legislation in decades. Although the law was passed only a few weeks ago, the impact on the economy and business outlook cannot be overlooked as the stock market rally continues and both individuals and businesses appear the most optimistic in quite some time.

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MAR 21

Birmingham, AL – Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. (BHS), a Birmingham-based corporation administering national behavioral health programs since 1989, will be hosting a national economic and legislative forum on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at The Club in Birmingham, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

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MAR 19
Patient Satisfaction- What Is It Worth? By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC with Warren Averett in Business

In the past few years, when we discussed patient satisfaction it pertained only to patient surveys and results. Some managers believe surveys are utilized by specialties, such as, plastic surgery who primarily practice on a cash basis.  Consumerism is here to stay! Cost and quality will create a level playing field in healthcare.  When working with a practice, I love to sit in the waiting room to see operations from the patient’s point of view.  I also search the specialty online to review the competition and the effectiveness of the practice’s website; I may also see online reviews.

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MAR 14
Confidence in the face of disaster – Are you ready? By Drew Braden Senior Technology Consultant with Keep IT Simple in Technology

If you surveyed managing physicians and office managers from the Birmingham area about their business continuity plans, how confident do you think they would be with their Disaster Recovery solution? Do they feel prepared? Have they even thought about it?

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MAR 13
It’s Not Just Stress: Removing the Cloak of Anxiety By Minerva Amputch Young, LPC, NCC with West Neuropsychology, LLC in Clinical

In a world of rapidly accelerating technology, our lives have become a 24hr sprint of endless tasks to be completed within a certain timeframe. Doctor offices are inundated with patients many young in age presenting symptoms such as high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, headaches, chest pain, random sweats, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems. With the increased volume of patients and the demanding time constraints experienced in physician offices, these physical symptoms are often treated individually. The physician may prescribe medication, make recommendations on possible lifestyle changes, yet the symptoms remain. Effective treatment has to go deeper. These patients could be simply suffering from stress or they could be dealing with a more problematic subset of mood disorders: Anxiety Disorders.

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MAR 12
Medical Billing Practices in the Modern Era of Medicine By William A. "Drew" Ellis, Esq. at Cloud Willis & Ellis, LLC in Regulatory

Physicians and other medical care professionals spend years studying, training and preparing themselves to provide best possible care to their patients. In many instances, these professionals spend the bulk of their attention and energy on treating their patients and meeting the day-to-day challenges that come with providing the best care possible. Unfortunately, practicing in today’s economic climate within a medical industry undergoing a vast transformation has forced many medical professionals to place equal value on business issues that effect their practice. Often times, the business of operating a medical practice is never discussed in medical school. Instead, many healthcare professionals are forced to learn fundamental business principles on the fly in private practice. With the emergence of electronic medical records and coding, many healthcare providers and practices are spending a substantial amount of time concentrating on the business of healthcare in addition to patient care. Of all the business issues that must now be prioritized by the medical industry, medical billing and managing account receivables can bear the most burden of all.

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FEB 13
A Physician’s Insider Guide for Social Security Disability Cases By Janet Cox , Attorney at law with Cox Disability Law in Regulatory

Physicians serve on the frontlines of our healthcare system, and by extension the many social programs guaranteed by the Social Security Administration. It’s a large responsibility and we owe them a debt of gratitude. These dedicated care providers, across many areas of practice and at varied levels within our medical system, help more than 57 million children and adults who live with disabilities across the United States.

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FEB 08
Think You've Figured Out HIPAA Compliance? Sorry, You're Probably Wrong. By Robbie Morris VP of Healthcare and Security Solution Services with TekLinks in Technology

We hate to break it to you, but there's a HIPAA requirement you’re more than likely doing wrong. The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is cracking down on requiring a true Healthcare Security Risk Analysis.

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FEB 06
Preparing for your Annual Security Audit By Ron Prevatte Director of Sales and Business Development with Integrated Solutions in Technology

Most companies assume their cyber security is pretty good… until a breach happens and then you find out where the holes were. We often find that apathy and a lack of being proactive may cost you lots of money. An annual security audit is a necessity for all medical practices and companies in todays ever changing world of technology. It is a vital part of protecting your digital assets and cyber security plan for your organization. It’s not just about discovering any vulnerabilities or shortcomings, rather it’s about opportunities to strengthen your network security.

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JAN 22
Optimizing Today’s Technology for Healthcare By Andrew Burke, CDIA+ with Stewart of Alabama in Technology

We all recognize that healthcare is evolving at a rapid pace. With this evolution, the need to share patient information to positively impact quality care, provide a seamless patient experience, plus save time for your staff to coordinate care is of critical importance.  By making the most of new technology, today’s office equipment can easily and securely, help you do just that. 

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DEC 22

Noncompliance (non-adherence) to medical recommendations can have a significant impact on a patient’s overall health quality, resulting in decreased opportunities for prevention, delayed diagnosis, and incomplete or ineffective treatment. There may also be significant liability and financial risks to a responsible healthcare professional treating this patient, particularly as patient outcomes increasingly become connected to quality indicators and reimbursement.

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DEC 07
Awareness is everything when it comes to participating in a clinical trial. By Will O’Donnell – Research & Development Assistant, Clinical Research Center of Alabama in Clinical

Healthcare professionals are all well aware of what a clinical trial is, how they work, and the possibilities   that are provided to those who participate. However, the majority of Americans have not participated or heard about opportunities to participate in clinical research. According to a survey conducted by Research!America in partnership with Zogby Analytics (2017), fewer than 10% of Americans actually participate in clinical trials. Digging further into the reasons why, 55% of those surveyed stated that they were not aware or lacked information regarding clinical trials (Research!America, 2017).  

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DEC 05
Depression: It’s Not Just Emotional By Minerva Amputch Young, LPC, NCC with West Neuropsychology, LLC in Clinical

Dr. Sunshine arrives in her clinic at 8 am. Her lobby is full of patients. Mrs. Jane, a 45-year-old widower who has been Dr. Sunshine’s patient for 10 years. Mrs. Jane has recently been complaining about reoccurring back pain, the inability to fall asleep, and indigestion problems. Dr. Sunshine is aware of the sudden passing of Mrs. Jane’s husband a year ago and treats her physical symptoms as they present themselves with analgesics, sedatives and reflux medicine. Yet, Mrs. Jane’s complaints remain. Although compliant with her medications, Mrs. Jane’s symptoms are a result of Major Depressive Disorder. 

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NOV 16
Hepatitis C Screening for Primary Care Physicians By David M. Fettig, MD, Birmingham Gastroenterology Associates in Clinical

An estimated 3.5 million people in the United States are infected with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Many of these people do not know they are infected and are not receiving care or treatment.  The CDC estimates that while Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965) comprise only 27% of the US population, they account for approximately three fourths of all HCV infections.  Therefore, they are at greatest risk for hepatocellular carcinoma and other HCV-related liver disease.  HCV is now the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer in the US. 

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NOV 01
Robotic Surgery: The How, When, and Why? By Justin B. Gerth M.D., with Eastern Surgical Associates in Clinical

Robotic assisted surgery has seen an explosion since it was first introduced about 20 years ago with over 4 million procedures performed. Although minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery has been around longer, certain limitations existed within this field. Laparoscopic surgical instruments lack wristed movement, essentially forcing surgeons to operate with chop sticks. The effect was difficulty performing certain procedures and working at difficult angles. Robotic surgery allows wristed action of the instruments, better optics (depth perception), surgeon control of the camera, and better ergonomics. While there is not any significant change in long term outcomes, there are studies suggesting decreased pain and shorter hospital stays.

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NOV 01
When an IT Manager Goes Rogue By Jennifer Lagutin, TekLinks in Technology

Your business' data could be compromised by the most unlikely of sources -- your own IT manager.

Over the past couple months, I’ve encountered multiple chilling examples of IT staff gone rogue. Of course, this isn't happening every day. But when it does, it's especially damaging to organizations with a one-person IT department. These lone IT managers often hold the keys to the kingdom. No one person - IT expert or not - should ever have complete control over passwords, access, processes, etc. Why? Consider these two recent incidents:

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OCT 12
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR BUSINESS ASSOCIATE’S HIPAA BREACH? By Beth Pitman, JD, CHPC, Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis LLP in Regulatory

  As of September 30, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has received notices of 237 breaches. 46% occurred as result of hacking or IT security incidents; many at the business associate level.  Ransomware is rampant and projected to increase 670%.  As a covered entity, although a breach occurs at your business associate, under HIPAA, you are responsible for your protected health information and responding to the breach.  OCR has been clear that breaches of 500 or more records will be investigated. Given the significant increase in breaches over the past few years, advance preparation is critical and can reduce the cost and burden of breach response. 

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OCT 02

Did you know a single patient health record can earn cybercriminals 10 times the price of a stolen credit card number on the black market?

The Office of Civil Rights is auditing small and large healthcare providers alike, imposing multi-million dollar fines in some cases. Meanwhile, the same electronic storage, mobile devices, and cloud-based applications that patients, doctors, and healthcare staff want to use often compromise a practice’s ability to keep that patient data safe.

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SEP 14
Physician Workflow and Coding Specificity- The Effect on Value By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC at Warren Averett in Business

It has now been two years since the implementation of ICD-10, everyone survived! While denials have been minimal, the goal of implementing ICD 10 to acquire more specificity and a complete picture of health has not been fully achieved.  Physicians and managers have created a new set of shortcuts to assure payment of claims, relying on paper superbills or inappropriate conversions from ICD 9 to ICD 10.

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JUL 20
Prostate Cancer and Modern Medicine By Joelle Hamilton M.D., Medical Oncologist with Urology Centers of Alabama in Clinical

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in American men and the second leading cause of cancer death. While a majority of men will be diagnosed after the age of 65, younger men do need to consider screening for prostate cancer, especially if risk factors are present such as African American heritage or a family history of prostate cancer.

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JUL 18
The Value of the Team Approach By Tammie Lunceford, CPC Healthcare Consultant, Warren Averett in Business

Most all medical practices are preparing a MACRA project this summer. Our healthcare team has had the opportunity to speak to many physicians and managers regarding preparation for the transition from volume to value based medicine and reimbursement.  A large project can be overwhelming for any practice but this is more than a project, it is a culture change!

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JUL 06
INTERNET USAGE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION By Ron Prevatte Director of Sales and Business Development with Integrated Solutions in Technology

The internet is a necessary part of the healthcare world today. This forces us to deal with the issue of managing employee Internet usage which can be a drain on your organizations productivity. This holds true in the healthcare industry whether you run a small clinic, large practice or hospital.

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MAY 18
The Importance of a Family Medicine Physician By Sidney Shah MD_Dr. Sidney Shah joined Norwood Clinic in 2006 and specializes in Family Medicine / Occupational Medicine. in Clinical

A family medicine doctor is someone you can always feel comfortable voicing your concerns to and leave an appointment feeling as though you were really listened to. They will help you to become an informed and active member of your healthcare decision-making process.
 

 

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MAY 17
The Merit Based Incentive Program- Small Practices-Big Decisions By Tammie Lunceford, CPC Healthcare Consultant, Warren Averett in Business

As we approach the beginning of summer, our minds are likely not on summer vacation. The process of assessing our electronic medical record vendor, absorbing the details of MIPS, and making the decisions on how to prepare, is overwhelming for small practices.  The transition to value based medicine has been evolving over the last 10 years in stages; adopting electronic health record, Quality Reporting, and Meaningful Use.  Many administrators and physicians did not realize the importance of each project; from choosing the right EMR, to implementing it properly, therefore achieving best practice workflows.

 

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MAY 10
Association Installs New President for 2017-2018 By Medical Association of the State of Alabama in Business

MONTGOMERY – Boyde Jerome “Jerry” Harrison, a family practitioner from Haleyville, was formally installed as president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama during the 2017 Inauguration, Awards Presentation and 50-Year Physician Recognition Dinner on Friday, April 14.

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APR 27
Recycle Electronics and Keep Your Practice Safe By Blake Perry CTO at Keep IT Simple in Technology

Recycling electronics is a great way to help conserve and reuse valuable resources and materials found in many gadgets, including glass, plastics, and various metals such as copper, gold, palladium, and silver. Many electronics, especially computers and televisions, contain toxic materials such as cadmium, lead, and mercury. Recycling and reusing electronics helps to keep these toxic materials out of our landfills and water supply.

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MAR 03
Communicating With Aphasic Patients after Stroke By Shelia Carlisle, Speech Pathologist, HealthSouth Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital in Clinical

A common diagnosis patients present at HealthSouth Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital is stroke. One of the many deficits a stroke patient may incur is aphasia, a speech and language disorder that causes difficulty using or comprehending words during listening, speaking, reading and writing. Although symptoms may vary from patient to patient, the difficulties and frustrations people with aphasia and their families encounter are consistent. 

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