The new ICD-10 date: Just another line in the sand?

The Department of Health and Human Services has officially given the new deadline for ICD-10 implementation as Oct. 1, 2015. Once upon a time we would not have questioned a delay of this type but after two delays and two years, it’s anyone’s guess if the deadline will hold this time. And with Meaningful Use II attestation so far behind what everyone expected, the impact from that could yet again affect ICD-10.

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

Given the magnitude of what is happening inside of healthcare administration today, if you think about it, the delays were almost inevitable. We’re trying to make massive, expensive and time-consuming changes on many fronts in a very tough economic environment — the recovery that doesn’t feel like a recovery to anybody.

I wonder though if it would have been wiser to have chosen October 2016 as the new date. While there are hospitals still struggling to prepare, those that are ready have now lost momentum ($$$$).

Compare the delay of ICD-10 to the loss of momentum children experience when taking off three months between school years — called by academics “the summer slide” or “summer learning loss.” What we have here is “hospital readiness loss.”

It’s tough enough inside of hospitals now juggling multiple projects to have them derailed by the very folks who imposed the deadlines to begin with.

It’s important to have goals and dates for completion or nothing gets done but more realism about all the interwoven and competing processes from the 30,000-foot view would have made this difficult road more manageable.

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Stolen laptops yield big fines (again)

Recently there was a story in the news that revealed two different hospital associations had to pay OCR fines of $1,975,220. The fines were due to two unencrypted laptops being stolen.

NEMT President Linda Allard

I’m not sure what else we need to read to get the seriousness of encrypting laptops. Although encryption is not required, it is our best defense against breaches due to the loss or theft of a laptop. Studies have shown that a laptop disappears every 43 seconds in the United States. That equals about 12,000 laptops per week. Remember 46 percent of the breaches analyzed are from physical theft or lack of encryption.

What I really found interesting when I dug into this story was that part of the fine was due to the fact that the facility didn’t encrypt and didn’t have a policy concerning why it didn’t encrypt. The security rule allows for flexibility under 45 CFR 164.312. However, you must explain why you are not going to encrypt and also have alternative measures in place. And yes, you need policies.

The other facility was fined for having a lack of security policies. They were not fined as much for the lack of encryption as the lack of these security policies. We also need to remember that both of these facilities will have years of compliance reporting that they will need to provide OCR. If you add that to the almost $2 million in fines, these are serious penalties.

If you are still confused about security, OCR has educational programs about compliance on various aspects of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. They also work for CECs for those who need them.

Learn more at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/training.

More information about the above story can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/enforcement/examples/stolenlaptops-agreements.html

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Lights, cameras, action!

I love watching movies on my iPad, but I don’t buy movies online to do it. Why should I when I already own the DVD? This blog article will discuss a ways you can use your tablet to watch movies you already own. While I am certain there are free ways to convert your existing videos, I’m going to talk about two products that I have used for years that do an excellent job. Both are low cost.

Andrew Clarke

 

• Cucusoft [www.cucusoft.com]

Cucusoft has been around since 2005. They offer a variety of conversion programs. I own the DVD Ripper + Video Converter Ultimate Suite, which converts not only DVDs but other video types as well, but there are other products available that only do the DVD conversion.

The Ultimate Suite sells for $59.95 right now (on sale from $79.95). The iPad Suite is on sale for $39.95.

 

• AVS4You [www.avs4you.com]

AVS4You is like owning a Swiss Army Knife of conversion tools.

When you buy one tool, you automatically get a license to use them all. That means you can convert audio, video, produce DVD’s, produce other video types, mix your own music and much much more.

Even though the website shows a special price, it hasn’t changed in years. That doesn’t mean it won’t though.

A one-year subscription is $39, but an unlimited subscription is only $59. Hmmm … which to get … : )

Both of these products offer a trial version so you can try it before you buy it. If you love to watch movies on the go, but you don’t want to pay to download them, give one or both a try. And let me know how you like them.

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Meaningful Use – are you ready?

While the second delay of ICD-10 adoption has given healthcare institutions some breathing space, Meaningful Use 1 and 2 continue to relentlessly march forward. In fact, as anyone working in healthcare IT knows, the pressure is on this year.

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

Meaningful Use Stage 2 is described by David Blumenthal, M.D. as “Where the Rubber Meets The Road” in healthcarenews.com. Blumenthal is the national coordinator for health information technology and he is often credited as the architect of Meaningful Use.

Going back to where this all began with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Ace of 2009, it’s been a long, costly, and painful road. Clearly much progress has been made and making an informal survey of the NEMT client base, most have already adopted an EHR while just a few are in the process now.

Depending on when facilities began the process, everyone must complete a 90 attestation period for either Stage 1, if the process was begun in 2013 or 2014; or for Stage 2 if it was begun in 2011 or 2012. At issue is that penalties will begin to accrue in 2015.

The jury is still out on whether it was a good thing that ICD-10 was delayed yet again but given the current timetable for facilities to meet Meaningful Use criteria, it doesn’t seem such a bad thing today.

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NEMT president Linda Allard named AHDI Advocate of the Year

NEMT President Linda Allard

We try not to brag too much on our blog but this time we can’t help it. Last week, our president, Linda Allard, won the prestigious Advocate of the Year award by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), the national clinical documentation organization.

It’s kind of a big deal. The industry’s top advocacy award serves to recognize an individual for outstanding activities related to advancement of the healthcare documentation profession.

Linda has spent her entire career working not only for patients and employers, but for the industry. She’s particularly focused on helping create job opportunities and good working conditions. One of her big projects over the last few years has been to create externship opportunities for student transcriptionists. These up-and-coming workers get on-the-job experience typing scrubbed reports for real doctors and real accounts before they graduate or commit to a company.

The program has been so successful that Linda has expanded it to include a voice recognition training program for students as well.

“We’re extremely proud of Linda and her efforts on behalf of the industry,” said NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan. “She works tirelessly to promote awareness of clinical documentation issues, information security and education. We’re very pleased that AHDI has recognized her value to the industry.”

This is the third year in a row that NEMT has won one of AHDI’s top honors. In 2012, NEMT was named the AHDI Employer of the Year and in 2013, the company was named AHDI’s Technology Innovator of the Year.

NEMT President Linda Allard, the AHDI 2014 Advocate of the Year

 

 

 

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