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Health Facts

HIPPA, Healthcare Insurance Portability And Accountability Act: Part 1

First introduced in 1996, it created guidelines governing employee benefits, fraud, security of patient information, and electronic transactions involving billing and claims processing. In 1999, it was amended to also address Internet security and electronic signatures. Then in 2001, the Bush Administration approved HIPAA with a 24-month implementation period in phases for full compliance by providers. The categories of regulation and compliance include transaction standards, code sets, health care identifiers, electronic signatures, physical security, and privacy issues.
Each category will take effect on different dates during that 24-month period.
Covering Your Bases
Covered entities include: health plans, billing services, and all health care providers engaging in electronic transmission of claims, payment, and insurance. Included are business associates, other doctors in your office, and contract workers or independent contractors. All Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) providers will also need to comply. With the growth of CAM and an increase in fraud, CAM providers will especially be targeted for HIPAA compliance. If you are a covered entity, it is important that you protect medical records or face the consequences of HIPAA law.
Entities covered by the privacy and security regulations of HIPAA will face many hurdles, some of which could be very costly. You may be required to pay for risk assessment to identify areas of noncompliance and physically redesign your office for compliance as it relates to securing records. You will definitely have to update your computer with HIPAA compliance software. A word of warning here-make sure to buy HIPAA compliance software and know the vendor. To date, there are very few, if any, software programs on the market that will allow you to become HIPAA compliant, and when available, may be extremely expensive. Also, you will have to train your staff and periodically re-train them and change office procedures and how you store records. Make sure to retain an attorney familiar with HIPAA regulations to guide you. Although you may not have a computer and therefore do not bill electronically, you must still comply with HIPAA in all other areas. Electronic billing will become the way to do business with all insurance companies, who will also need to be compliant with HIPAA. If you are not, compliant, then your claims may not be paid or even allowed to be submitted other than electronically. Insurance contract plans have certain guidelines for participation on the panels. If these guidelines, one of which may be HIPPA compliant, are not met, then you will not be allowed to take part. On the insurance panel.
Paper Trail
As a covered entity, there will be increased paperwork in the areas of medical consents,
written patient authorizations, privacy notices-posted and given to patients, and creation of policy and procedures covering disclosure of treatment by you, any other contract worker, independent worker or associate doctor in your office.
Consent forms for treatment must also include HIPAA language as to treatment, payment, or other provider services. Although consent to treat and authorizations may be on a single form, it must be signed separately. Authorizations must be signed by the patient if the provider uses patient information for purposes other than treatment.
Privacy policy notices must be posted in your office and a copy given to all patients. Your computer and data files are the lifeline for the practice. You must protect patient information and uphold office policies and procedures as to who has access and how information is obtained. There must also be a secure area for medical records, keeping access private and a designated person should be assigned to view those records. Business associates, independent contractors, and associate doctors must also be HIPAA compliant. Securing these workers on a contract basis as other types of persons or entities for access to medical records may be necessary. Presently, personal injury and workers compensation attorneys are exempt as they represent the patient and not the provider. Compliance, although difficult, is a far better choice than noncompliance, as will be discussed in part two.…

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Healthy Nutrition

Online Healthcare Pricing Comparison Site Benefits Families

We are seeing more evidence of consumers like you becoming more frugal about the health care you receive – and it’s not just because of the down economy. We battle all sorts of extreme challenges in just keeping health care affordable, from the sky-high price of medical services in general, to blizzards of confusion over out-of-network charges, insurance denials for the insured, and much more like nonsensical medical bill errors.
Now, we’ve come across an additional resource that you may want to explore and use to comparison shop for more affordable health care, before you step foot in your doctor’s office. The Health in Reach web site, a free service for consumers, allows you to browse for nearly any kind of health care, from regular family practice to specialist offices, in much the same way that you do for, say, hotels or soft goods.
How It Works
This kind of ‘match-making’ site works on this principle: doctors like to anticipate costs, as well. They can do this by compiling groups of single new patients and pricing the incoming visitors in bulk: that means that uninsured patients who need to pay out of pocket can enjoy some of the same price benefits as those whose insurance companies have an existing contractual arrangement with a provider.
Health in Reach assists to fulfill the void of “service transparency,” the idea that patients should know ahead of time what they will be paying. In a world where providers typically bill insurers first and shift costs to patients later, too many patients just don’t have any real clue about the final ‘invoice total’ that they will see in a mailed medical bill. As we often point out, this kind of ‘mystery pricing’ would never be tolerated in any other industry, and it should be part of our medical industry either. By bringing the power of the Internet to medical shopping, these third party sites are helping to change the cumbersome and often unequal relationship between patient and provider.
Need Dental Work?
One of the biggest demands for the Health in Reach site, according to the company, is from dentist offices, which often uses the site as a way to gain exposure for new business. Health in Reach estimates that 100 million Americans avoid dentists, partly because of high out of pocket pricing and a growing unwillingness on the part of employers to fund dental care for their employees. The company estimates that about 40% of all providers listed on the site are dentists, and many site users take advantage of the ability to ‘lock in’ low rates for a dental visit. This is a great example of the utility of price shopping sites. Many of the thousands of individuals who would either go without care or wait for annual ‘free dental clinics’ where they are available, can now choose a third option: seeing up-front prices for a cleaning or other visit.
This is just one of many sites we’ve come across the last few months that appears to provide a valuable service for its users. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for other resources that will surface.…

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Fitness

Healthcare Tips For a Healthy Lifestyle

The common saying that health is wealth holds true for all of us. Without a good and healthy constitution, we tend to lose out on many pleasures of life. Most of us work hard to earn a living and pay little attention to our health. Here are some healthcare tips that we could follow to enjoy a smooth, healthy lifestyle.
Broadly defined, health care includes the prevention and treatment of common illnesses that could hamper our daily progress in life. There are many such services that provide numerous healthcare tips and advice. These days it is also easy to look for the best healthcare tips online. There are several websites that deal with how to cope with common illnesses.
Irrespective of how well we take care of ourselves, we are bound to experience some sort of health complication every once in a while. This could be owing to the pollution in the air, the level of stress at work, and many other factors. Most of us catch common diseases such as the common cold and cough while commuting through public transport. Since most common illnesses are unavoidable, we can gain knowledge on healthcare tips to maintain good physical and mental well being.
Healthcare tips are beneficial not just for individuals with illnesses but also for those taking care of others. Advice from a reliable source can be of immense help for many people around the world. Most tips and advice focus on how to do the right thing and avoid what is wrong when you are ill or taking care of someone who is ill. Since you cannot be with your doctor all the time, it is really important that you have some knowledge about common diseases and how to avoid making them worse.
The value of good healthcare tips cannot be underestimated; at times they could even be life saving. There are many websites that offer daily newsletters and tips. It is a great idea to subscribe to one of these to stay updated about the latest research and findings on the health scene.
The internet is full of advice and tips on health care in the form of blogs, newsletters, and other online mediums. Most of these sites are interactive, allowing you to post your queries and questions online. You can also participate in the message boards and share your experiences with everyday health care. However, you will need to be careful that the health care website you visit is managed by a reliable medical professional. There are many sites out there that are not run by an authorised doctor, and are not reliable sources of the perfect healthcare tips.
Healthcare tips are not just about common illnesses, they could also be about general lifestyle, diet and other everyday activities. Health care is gaining huge popularity with the new generation of health conscious individuals. It is now fashionable to be healthy and eat wholesome, fresh food and consume invigorating, fresh fruit juices.…

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Health Department

Health Care Attorney – How To Find Legal Help With Your Healthcare

No matter how much we find ways for it not to happen; our family or at least one of them, including ourselves, can no not just stay away from getting sick any human beings, though how much we try to stay healthy, we are still very susceptible to the threats of serious ailments and other chronic disease as well to damaging accidents. To make things worst, availing the appropriate treatment and the needed medical attention is not an easy task and usually becomes a struggle especially for someone who does not have any health insurance or not covered by any health program. That is why it has become practical for many people to at least get the services of a provider despite their expensive cost.
Many people find it advantageous to have a medicare provider in case of emergency. As long as a person is ensured by a certain program; that person is guaranteed to have the proper treatment and the necessary medical attention he or she deserves. It is no secret why the industry is one of the most money-spinning markets of quantity of money involved and that can be earned from people who are searching for aA� insurance is enormous, considering the verity that getting aA� insurance now has become more of a luxury rather than a right.
With the great amount of money involved in this industry, there is no wonder why there are now a lot ofA� providers with each offering a different program, coverage and of course, payment scheme. The great profusion ofA� providers has made it more complicated for ordinary citizens to make a decision regarding on the provider they want to go with. Given that there are many providers; it is has become a harder challenge to spot or draw the distinction between a good one and a fraudulent one. Since subscribing into a healthcare program is an expensive thing; we must be more knowledgeable on the ways on how to find the best provider that can provide us with the kind of health care we desire. Furthermore, a lot of providers are known for their notoriety at getting a piece of uninsured people’s hard earned money. They are continually making false advertisements and issuing false statements just to attract a good number of people to avail of their services. These health care insurance companies make it more complicated for their clients to process their claims by making the procedure difficult for ordinary people to comprehend.Moreover, if it happens that a client of them is successful in processing his claim, these insurance providers try to pay as less amount as possible.
In searching for the best healthcare provider it would be better if we go out trying to look for help. When it comes to making deals with these healthcare providers, it is entirely helpful if we will hire the services of a health care attorney.A health care attorney can provide us with a lot of help in finding a good health insurance company and in dealing with all the legal matters involved in availing a health insurance. With the aid of these attorneys, we can get the needed guidance in choosing the right insurance company that can provide us with the bestA� coverage.
Health care attorneys have the expertise in the health care law. They are experts in handling cases involving the provision of services and other related can guarantee us with the legal help in dealing with health insurance companies if ever we get into trouble in making our claims.
In finding the perfectA� provider it would not hurt or it would be probably better if we go out searching for help. With the help of a health care attorney, we can be provided with the proper guidance in picking the right insurance companies that can provide us with the bestA� coverage. These attorneys are experts in health care law. They can easily handle cases involving the provision of services and other related benefits.…

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Health Products

Small Business Requirements and California Healthcare Insurance Considered

If you run a small or medium sized business you are the back-bone of our economy. Of course, with that incredible position, there are some responsibilities too. There are certain things you need to know, and be aware of when it comes to small business health care insurance in CA, such as tax incentives and penalty fees depending on the size of your payroll and number of employees if you choose not to cover health insurance for your employees.
California small business healthcare insurance and California small group insurance can be a good incentive for employees and the benefits they desire. By providing this insurance, you will improve the quality and productivity of your workforce and prevent excessive turn-over. Yes, it can be costly at times, and that’s why it’s important to look at all the options and get a plan that makes sense for your company.
Additionally, you may decide to use “carve-out” options in the policy, as an incentive for employees during their probationary period to maintain peak performance and productivity until they reach a point they may be added to the company policy. You might also wish to do this for executives or owners with individual health insurance policies already in place.
There are several ways to set up these group insurance policies and small business healthcare insurance plans in the California which can help you strategically, while maximizing your coverage and minimizing your risks and monthly premium expenses for your company health insurance requirements. After all, every business needs to watch costs and maximize profits to stay in business.
When it comes to the most common type of health care coverage; California private health insurance plans, and CA individual healthcare insurance it is quite common to create a policy that offers affordability and brings a bit of frugality to the equation. After all, affordable healthcare insurance is the primary goal; that is to say the lowest premiums for health insurance in California, reasonable co-pays, and maximum coverage.
There are many tactics we can employ to get this done. Some folks are okay with just catastrophic coverage, which usually means a higher deductible, along with very low premiums. If you are of substantial personal financial strength perhaps an HSA or health savings account might be wise. There might even be tax advantages for you to set up a Health Savings Account (HSA).
You can set up an HSA for your California family health insurance or your IL individual health insurance plan. Or, you might find it beneficial to consider ways to use such strategies in a private health plan in California or as part of your Medigap strategy. We can help with all these things, as we are your California health insurance specialists.
Your goal is to approach your health insurance needs with a strategic mindset to minimize risk and premium costs while taking advantage of tax incentives and benefits without sacrificing coverage. If you are a small business in CA, health insurance plans are on your mind, and you are not alone. Hundreds of millions of Americans and 30 million small businesses are also thinking here, many are worried, and uncertain about the future. That’s why you must do your homework and due diligence.
Many of the new rules for ObamaCare are very complex and have phase-ins between now and 2014, you need to know what is going on. So, you should call your local health care insurance broker for a small business guide and then ask them to help you through the process. Please consider all this.…

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Healthy Nutrition

Mental Healthcare Reform – Present Successes and Future Challenges

As healthcare reform is becoming a reality, there is much to celebrate within the mental health community. This includes passage of a healthcare reform package that includes parity for mental health and addiction services, expansion of Medicaid to 133% of Federal Poverty Level, inclusion of behavioral health organizations and individuals with mental illnesses in the new Medicaid medical home state option, and authorization and increased funding for grants co-locating mental health treatment and primary care. These and a host of other provisions expand the opportunities for individuals with mental illnesses and addictions to obtain and maintain insurance coverage and access needed services.
But this is not the end of the mental healthcare battle. Simply put, mental health advocates must be ready to play in a new game, in a world where increasing numbers of individuals – by virtue of Medicaid expansion, the emerging Health Insurance Exchanges, and parity regulations – will have access to behavioral health services. We expect to see an additional 15 million individuals – an increase of 43% – eligible for Medicaid alone, with more than 30 million individuals overall who will, in the not too distant future, have insurance coverage.
But this is far more than a matter of numbers – it’s about working smarter. Advocates of mental healthcare anticipate that healthcare reform-driven service delivery redesign and payment reform will unfold at a rapid pace. In order to bend the cost curve, payment reform and service delivery redesign will change how health, mental health, and substance use services are integrated, funded, and managed. Providers must learn to practice healthcare the way healthcare will be done.
As mental healthcare providers and advocates, we must become savvy about positioning ourselves to take advantage of new markets and new opportunities to help control the design and delivery of healthcare services. We must begin to build relationships within and across the entire healthcare sector. As we revisit the concept of “managing care” for individuals and whole populations, we have to be certain that our focus on person-centered, recovery-focused treatment and services is not subsumed by the drive to “bend the curve” in healthcare costs. We must be able to demonstrate our value not only to our customers, but also as key players in these new healthcare consortia.
We must become accountable for efficient and effective services that show results across all health domains. We believe fee-for-service reimbursement will slowly become a thing of the past. So, too, will be the ability to claim that caseloads are full with no-show rates of 50% and more. We risk being left on the sidelines if we don’t move with deliberate speed to ensure continuity and timely access to care; comply with third-party payer requirements; coordinate care with a full range of health providers; and if necessary take on payers that refuse to honor the spirit and letter of the parity regulations.
We must become increasingly customer-focused, from the way we greet individuals who come through our door to the way we market our services. We should expect that with more money available in healthcare – particularly for mental health and addiction treatment – that new and well capitalized players will find behavioral health, traditionally a financially unattractive healthcare sector, far more appealing.
People will be insured and will have an increasing range of options available to them. What differentiates our mental healthcare services? Why should an individual choose to receive treatment and support from us? Are we offering services that will help them meet a full range of healthcare needs? Are our services culturally appropriate for the communities we serve? Can we help them understand and make appropriate use of their insurance coverage? We must retool our organizations with the knowledge that all individuals will now become true “consumers” of healthcare services.
At the same time, we must also be aware that our work is far from over at the state and federal level. Forty eight of 50 states are experiencing severe budget shortfalls. The threat is very real and the mental healthcare advocates are fighting hard to hold on to current funding as legislatures see an opportunity to continue to withdraw needed funds. This is surely a bad idea – even the most generous healthcare benefits will likely not cover the full range of wraparound supports that people with mental illnesses and addictions need to fully recover.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” All of our planning, advocacy, and leadership to date have borne fruit, but we must not be content to wish it all works out well. We must fight for our future – and the future of the individuals we are privileged to serve – by acting as key players in the brave new world of healthcare.…

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Health Tips

Out of Control Healthcare Costs and What Can Be Done About it

No matter what else is happening with the U.S. economy, health care costs seem to keep going up. In 1960, health care cost was 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2000 it was 13% and is now up to 16%. The annual per capita cost is $7026.
These are both the highest in the industrialized world. But we are 34th in life expectancy and 29th in infant mortality among nations of the world. Are we getting our money’s worth? Some experts now say as much as half of the money spent on medical care does nothing to improve health. Single-payer health care has the government paying everybody’s medical bills.
We’re not looking at single-payer any time soon. We currently go through insurance companies, and the incoming administration is not going to change that, although they do plan an option for uninsured people. Employer health plans usually don’t pay all employee health care bills, with the average worker kicking in $3281/yr from the paycheck for family coverage.
On average, a family policy bought directly from the insurance company is over $12,000 a year. Since 2001, premiums have gone up 78%, though wages have only increased by 19%. Some projections have health care as 20% of GDP by 2017. We can’t afford this, either individually or as a society. One reason we don’t go to a single-payer system is to keep the insurance companies in business.
They can repay the favor by helping to get costs under control. Drugs are over-priced, over-prescribed, and over-advertised. Pharmaceutical companies can do their part to lower medical costs. The medical establishment has a lot of work to do here too. Now let’s look at what we as patients can do along with the doctors to bring costs down. It’s important to get medical care early in an illness, when it can be treated more easily, and to get regular check-ups.
On the other hand, you don’t have to run to the doctor for everything. (If in doubt, call or visit the doctor. Don’t take chances.) Most of the conditions people see doctors for will get better by themselves. Let a cold run its course. Don’t go demanding some sort of medicine that will cut it short by a day or two. If you have a mild ankle sprain that no longer hurts after a couple of days, it’s not necessary to demand an MRI and physical therapy.
And don’t bother asking your doctor if every drug you see advertised is right for you. There’s a lot of talk from politicians about disease prevention, but it usually refers to stopping smoking and getting appropriate medical tests to identify diseases early. These are important, but you don’t have to demand tests for any conceivable illness. Many tests are not always accurate, and may have side effects. But the most important preventive measure, which does not get nearly the exposure of the “obesity epidemic,” is dealing with the inactivity epidemic. In 1998 only 31% of the population reported doing regular exercise, and the percentage hasn’t improved.
Eat right, work out, don’t smoke, and keep on your representatives to reform the health care industry. Whether you agree with the public health option or not something must be done to contain upward spiraling healthcare costs. We can’t afford not to do something about it now.…