BMN Blog

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 15
Understanding AllergiesBy ENT Associates of Alabama in Clinical

When most people think of Spring they think of flowers blooming, birds chirping and sunny day ahead, but for millions… their thoughts turn to congestion, runny noses, itchy eyes or endless sneezes. They have what are known as seasonal allergies. Allergy symptoms are caused by a hypersensitive response to an otherwise harmless substance and not all allergies are the same.

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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 AnxietyBy 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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MAR 09
Calmness in the stormBy Patrick Mullins AAMS® with Raymond James / Private Client Group in Business

Between phone calls with clients on another day in the financial trenches at Raymond James & Associates, I brainstormed for a good topic to pontificate upon to the readers of this fine publication, and I hope you’ll agree I found it.

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MAR 06

The assessment of patient compliance is very difficult. Many patients may not want to disappoint their physician and will not be completely accurate about their degree of compliance. Other patients are not able to accurately evaluate or do not know their degree of compliance. In one study, 10% of patients reported that they were 100% compliant with their medication use. Using pill count methods, however, the use of the prescribed medications ranged from 2% to 130% of the prescribed pills.

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MAR 06
To Fuse or Not to Fuse: The Argument for Spinal Disc ReplacementBy Christopher Heck, MD-Spine Surgeon Southlake Orthopaedics Sports Medicine & Spine Center, PC in Clinical

Treatment for a pinched nerve in the neck (cervical radiculopathy) that has failed to improve with non-operative care has traditionally been treated with an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Originally explained in 1958, this procedure achieves success by eliminating nerve root compression by removing the disc, replacing with bone graft via a fusion to prevent recurrent or pinched nerves and maintain stability. However, not only does this increase restricted motion to the spine (which is increased with multilevel fusions), but it also transfers force stresses to other levels or levels above and below the fusion which has been shown to increase symptoms/degeneration at other levels.

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MAR 05
Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain & the Value of TrustBy Matt Dennis, National Bank of Commerce in Business

Over the last year or so, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have grabbed the attention of global markets and its participants.

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FEB 27
10 Commandments of Gastrointestinal HealthBy Christopher P. Shaver, MD, Birmingham Gastroenterology Associates in Clinical
  1. Control all of your “other” medical conditions.  Many chronic diseases negatively influence your intestinal tract: think poorly controlled diabetes, undertreated cardiovascular diseases, thyroid disorders, obesity, and so on.  There is a synergistic relationship between intestinal health and your other organ systems. 
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FEB 22
Peripheral Vascular DiseaseBy J. Hudson Segrest, M.D. with Heart South Cardiovascular Group in Clinical

Peripheral artery disease is a widespread and vastly underdiagnosed disease, affecting nearly 12 million Americans, mostly those over the age of 50, though the incidence increases with age. The most common symptom of peripheral arterial disease is claudication, which is pain, fatigue or aching in the legs when someone attempts to walk. This is due to the poor blood flow to the muscles in the legs. Beyond simply the discomfort in the legs, we know that having peripheral vascular disease makes one much more likely to have poor cardiovascular outcomes. Among patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease, more than 10% will have a stroke, heart attack, or die from a cardiovascular cause within two years. And when we look longer term, the statistics are even more sobering. For patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease, their mortality rate is 25% at 5 years and 50% at 10 years. When looking at patients with critical limb ischemia (those who have pain at rest or wounds on their feet), the numbers are even worse: they have a mortality rate of 50% at 5 years and 90% at 10 years.

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FEB 16

Until recently, sufferers of chronic or recurrent sinusitis were limited to two treatment options: medication therapy or aggressive sinus surgery. Fortunately, advances in medical science have opened new doors.

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FEB 14
Varithena – sounds like a superhero, works like one too!By Charles Austin Hunt II, MD, FACS, RVT with Alabama Vein Center in Clinical

If “Varithena” sounds like the latest Marvel or DC superhero, there’s good reason. When it comes to treating varicose veins, such an idea isn’t so far fetched!

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FEB 13
A Physician’s Insider Guide for Social Security Disability CasesBy 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

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FEB 07
Creating a World Where Every Person MattersBy Lori M. Quiller, APR Director of Communications and Social Media Medical Association of the State of Alabama in Business

When Michele Kong was a little girl growing up in Malaysia, she knew the world was filled with both wonder and danger. She surprised herself and her family when she managed to kill a not-so-small python that slithered into their home. She laughs now remembering the incident, but she said someone had to do it to protect her family, and she had the shovel.

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FEB 06
Preparing for your Annual Security AuditBy 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 24
QNA with Norwood Clinic Ophthalmology By John S. Owen Jr., M.D. with Norwood Clinic in Clinical

Q: Could you tell us about Norwood Clinic Ophthalmology?

A: We’re a part of Norwood Clinic, which is the oldest and largest multi-specialty medical group in the Birmingham area. At the ophthalmology location, we offer comprehensive ophthalmology services. This includes routine adult and pediatric eye exams; medical and surgical treatment for diseases of the eye and eyelids; and screening for ocular manifestations of systemic diseases such as diabetes.

We also have certified ophthalmic technicians and an optician to assist with the dispensing of glasses and contact lenses.

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JAN 22
Optimizing Today’s Technology for HealthcareBy 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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JAN 17

 A couple should consider seeking help from a fertility specialist after attempting to conceive for three months, six months, a year—there really is no right answer. Infertility could be due to a single factor, or multiple factors, and fertility treatments vary in complexity. One factor in particular has become more prominent nowadays in couples who are trying to conceive: age, which effects both the husband and wife, has become a threat to fecundity as society pressures couples to start a family later in life.

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DEC 22

Every year, new hearing aid technology is introduced to the market. New technology in hearing aids boasts updates and changes in directional microphones,  sound processing algorithms, noise reduction features, amplitude and frequency compression, and audio data transfer between hearing aids, just to mention a few.  What is often forgotten however, is that the primary objective of a traditional hearing aid fitting is to ensure that the patient is receiving the appropriate amount of amplification for their hearing loss at each frequency.

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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 21
UAB, Children’s of Alabama Committed to a Cure By Kimberly Whelan, M.D., MSPH Interim Director, Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham in Clinical

The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama actively works toward the goal of a total cure through research and development of innovative therapies. More than a dozen prominent pediatric hematology, oncology and blood and bone marrow physician-scientists provide exceptional programs in patient care, education and research. Currently, the Center provides care or treatment for 90 percent of the pediatric hematology-oncology patients in the state.

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DEC 19

Two million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis every year and 10 percent of the population will experience it in their lifetime. It has become recognized as one of the most chronic and, often times, most difficult foot problems to treat.

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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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DEC 01
Seniors benefit from physical fitnessBy Agee Robert, Jr., MD with BBH Specialty Care Network Sports Medicine in Clinical

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that it’s too late to get in shape. In fact, research shows that older people who have never exercised can still benefit from physical conditioning. By starting a regular exercise program, you can help prevent coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression and some cancer. Physical fitness reduces the effects of osteoporosis and arthritis — two conditions which can severely limit an older person’s lifestyle. Being in good shape physically can help you remain independent as you age and improve the quality of your life.

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NOV 27
The Cost Category Returns for 2018By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC, Healthcare Consultant at Warren Averett in Business

As we finalize 2017 participation in the Merit Based Incentive Program, most of us focused on improved performance in quality since the category carried the highest weight of 60%. Those who had previous success in Meaningful Use found the Advancing Care category easy to address.  The Practice Improvement category is new and somewhat vague, but many practices were already performing tasks that qualified as an improvement activity.  It is important to document the approach to improvement and track success because this category is subject to audit in the future.

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NOV 22
“New vascular clinic paves the way in eliminating leg pain”By Katie Reaves, M.S., Vascular Division Manager with Alabama PVD Center in Clinical

Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), yet general awareness of the disease is at 25%. Patients over the age of 50 with a history of smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are at the greatest risk.  A staggering 50% of PAD patients have unrecognized symptoms that may progress directly to severe disease.

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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 06
Parkinson’sBy Cheryl Pierce, Occupational, Certified LSVT BIG Therapist at Healthsouth Lakeshore in Clinical

Parkinson’s is recognized as the second most neurodegenerative disorder right behind Alzheimer’s. An estimated 7 to 10 million people have Parkinson’s disease worldwide, with 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s being diagnosed just in the U.S. every year. Parkinson’s is known as a progressive condition and symptoms will affect patients differently. Typically, people diagnosed with Parkinson’s will portray some degree of difficulty with shaking or tremor, slowness of movement or bradykinesia, stiffness in movement or rigidity of the arms, legs and trunk and gait imbalance. Because of the loss of dopamine producing brain cells, patients will see their movements become slower and smaller, creating risk for falls and impairing their quality of life.

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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 RogueBy 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 31
Recruitment under way for new Alabama genetics initiativeBy Bruce Korf, M.D., PhD, Chair, Department of Genetics, UAB /Children’s of Alabama Co-Chair, Alabama Genomic Health Initiative in Clinical

Full scale recruitment is under way for the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI), a partnership of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Children’s of Alabama. Funded by a $2 million appropriation from the Alabama legislature to UAB, the AGHI is one of the nation’s first statewide efforts to use genomic analysis to identify those at high risk for genetic diseases.

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OCT 24

The state’s first spine procedure using the Mazor Robotic System in conjunction with intraoperative imaging was performed by neurosurgeons with Neurosurgical Associates, PC at St. Vincent’s Birmingham.

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OCT 24
Does your Patient have Venous Disease? By James Isobe M.D. and Christopher Jones M.D. of the Brookwood Baptist Health Specialty Care Network Vein Center. in Clinical

Venous reflux in the lower extremity is when blood from the foot which should travel towards the heart reverses downwards due to gravity.

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OCT 23
Pediatric Obstructive Sleep ApneaBy Michael J. Latshaw, MD with Medical West Otolaryngology in Clinical

Sleep is a very important activity, that we often take for granted. It is especially important in children as it allows for proper neurological development. One disorder that is more and more common is sleep apnea, or interrupted sleep from breathing issues. We generally associate sleep apnea and distressed breathing while sleeping with adults, but it does occur with children - actually in 3-5% of children.

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OCT 23

There is a lot of confusion about SSDI and SSI, the two types of disability benefits that can be received from Social Security. The definition of disability is the same under both programs, but that is where the similarity ends. The following is a very basic description of the disability programs provided under the Social Security Act, titles II and XVI.

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OCT 23
Controlling Myopia ProgressionBy Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD, FAAO with UAB eye care in Clinical

What is myopia?


Myopia is a condition that results in distant objects appearing blurry to a patient when not being corrected with glasses or contact lenses.1 Myopic blur typically results from the eye being too long for its optical focusing components (cornea and crystalline lens), which causes distant objects to be in focus in front of the retina (back of the eye) instead on the retina, a requirement for the eye to be able to see clearly.1 About one third of Americans have myopia, and its prevalence is likely increasing because of factors associated with living in a developed country (e.g., decreased time outdoors).2-5 With that said, the scientific community only has a vague understanding of how genetics and the environment influence the development and progression of myopia.1 While myopia’s visual affects can be a costly nuisance and strain on the health care system,6 myopia also places the affected individuals at a greater risk for developing vision-threatening conditions like cataracts, retinal detachments, and glaucoma.1 Once present, myopia cannot be cured; therefore, preventing it or even reducing the amount of myopia that a patient develops is an upmost priority for the scientific community.7

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OCT 23
Utilizing New Patient Forms and Credit ApplicationsBy Brian M. Cloud, Esq. at Cloud Willis & Ellis, LLC in Regulatory

No matter the size of the business, a successful business must be paid promptly and in full. However, often a business, including a medical practice is dealing with numerous overdue accounts receivables.  Such a financial position can be commonplace in today’s business environment.  Although this financial condition is often perceived as “normal” or “accepted” business practice”, savvy business owners should collect promptly and protect their rights in resolving overdue receivables with the proper policy and procedures in place.  Effective policy and procedures generally begin with utilizing a new patient form and/or the credit application.

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OCT 18
How Important is a Mammogram! By Norwood Clinic Imaging in Clinical

For 2017, The American Cancer Society has estimated that around 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,470 diagnosed in men, around 63,410 new cases of Carcinoma in situ(non-invasive and the earliest form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed, and approximately 40,610 cases will be fatal.

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OCT 16
October is National Audiology Awareness Month. By Calyn Russ, AuD with Excel ENT of Alabama in Clinical

Over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss.

That is over 4 times the amount of people who live in New York City.

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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 10
Billing Under Another’s Provider Number Can Land Physicians in Hot WaterBy Emma Cecil, JD, Senior Regulatory Attorney & PolicyHolder Advisor with MagMutual in Regulatory

An Oklahoma physician agreed on August 28, 2017 to pay the government $580,000 to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to the Medicare program for services he did not provide or supervise. According to the government, the physician allowed a company that employed him and in which he had an ownership interest to use his NPI numbers to bill Medicare for physical therapy evaluation and management services that he did not provide or supervise. The government further alleged that after he separated from the company and deactivated his NPIs associated with the company, he reactivated those NPIs so that the company could use them to bill Medicare for services he neither performed nor supervised.

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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 28
Peripheral Arterial DiseaseBy Monica G Hunter, MD, FACC, FSCAI with Birmingham Heart Clinic in Clinical

Most people are aware that atherosclerosis can cause blockages in the coronary arteries, resulting in chest pain or heart attack, or in the carotid arteries, precipitating a stroke. But atherosclerosis can lead to another serious but often under-diagnosed condition: peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Defined as atherosclerotic obstruction of the arteries to the lower extremities, PAD causes leg pain and is associated with other cardiovascular disease. Although lower extremity PAD affects an estimated 12 to 20 million people in the United States, only four to five million of them are experiencing symptoms.

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SEP 27
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness MonthBy The Doctors of Urology Centers of Alabama in Clinical

Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men? In fact, an average of 480 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day - that’s one every 3 minutes.

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SEP 21
Advancements in Asthma, Atopic Dermatitis and Urticaria Treatment through Biologics By John Anderson, MD Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist at Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center and Research Director of the Clinical Research Center of Alabama in Clinical

Treatment options for asthma and other atopic conditions continue to evolve. In regard to asthma treatment, we primarily use inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators, we treat flares with steroids, and we offer allergy shots to patients with allergy triggers. Yet a significant proportion of patients remain poorly controlled and susceptible to morbidity from their asthma and the toll steroids take upon them.

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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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SEP 12
Prostate CancerBy Medical West Hospital in Clinical

The prediction: 161,360 new diagnoses and 26,730 fatalities.

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