Archive for April, 2014

Bringing Women and Technology Together

As a working mom, I have a soft spot for working women’s issues. As a woman working in the world of healthcare IT, I have developed a highly sensitive radar for dialogues and conversations taking place around women’s roles in technology and the greater STEM fields. It seems that, as of late, gender’s role in the workplace has taken a greater place in the spotlight of industry news.

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To Encrypt or Not To Encrypt

Tuesday, April 22nd , the government announced two significant HIPAA Settlement and Resolution Agreements related to breaches of unsecured patient information caused by stolen laptops. One settlement agreement addressed a healthcare provider that stored patient information on a laptop that was stolen from the facility. The laptop contained patient information that was not encrypted. Because the government believed the lack of encryption caused a critical risk, the penalty was $1,725,220. The second case involved 148 unsecured patient records located on a stolen laptop that was self-reported to the government. The government then investigated and found that the entity failed to adequately implement HIPAA Security safeguards until after the breach. In this case, the entity was fined $250,000. In both cases, the healthcare providers were required to enter into a corrective action plan in addition to the fines and penalties.

One key element of the corrective action plan …

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Did the Delay of ICD-10 Prevent a Financial Disaster in the Healthcare Market?

Recently healthcare providers were required to transition from the current healthcare coding system of ICD-9 to ICD-10. The acronym ICD stands for International Classification of Disease. Healthcare providers use these codes to classify disease conditions or procedures to support their reimbursement claims. U.S. healthcare providers have been using the ICD-9 coding system since 1979. Numerous countries have advanced from ICD-9 to ICD-10 supporting a greater level of detail classifying a patient’s disease condition and procedures performed. The U.S. has held off moving from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for a number of years due to the complexity and impact throughout every aspect of the healthcare business. The latest deadline for healthcare providers to comply with the ICD-10 coding system was October 1, 2014. A law recently passed gave healthcare providers a reprieve of adopting this new coding system for at least one year.

This reprieve of requiring healthcare providers’ adoption is …

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New Enrollment Numbers and a Silly New Controversy

Data from Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner indicates that insurers received 221,604 applications through the marketplace through the end of March. Premiums had only been received for 107,581 of those policies by March 31st, covering 149,465 lives. Given that more than twenty percent of the total enrollment occurred in the last two weeks of March it is likely that the final number of covered lives is likely to be higher. About two thirds of paid enrollees through the exchange are receiving subsidies.

When all is said and done the numbers of individuals covered through the exchange reflect about 40% of Georgia’s individual insurance market. Especially in Georgia however many of those who had coverage in the individual market continued with that coverage purchased outside of the marketplace.

What is not yet know is how many of those who purchased coverage in the marketplace were previously uninsured. The Rand Corporation’s survey completed in mid-March estimated that …

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Nothing is Certain Except Death and Taxes (and ObamaCare Ain’t Helping)

taxesIn a 1789 letter from Ben Franklin to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, Mr. Franklin said “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Tax time.

This is second year of what will likely be annual occurrence: increased taxes to pay for ObamaCare.

You see, when the President and Congress “cooked” the budgetary scoring for ObamaCare. President Obama stated in a joint session of Congress in 2009 that ObamaCare would cost $900 billion over ten years. More specifically, he said, “Now, add it all up, and the plan that I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.”

However, just a few weeks ago, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has revised its cost projections. At $2.6 trillion, the new price tag is almost three-times more than what president promised.

So how are we going to pay for ObamaCare. You guessed it: Higher taxes. And once again, Ben Franklin was correct. Nothing is …

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