R&W Editor No Comments

Keep Employees COVID-19 Free: An Employer’s Guide From OSHA

Naturally you care about the health and safety of your employees, and don’t need a federal agency to tell you that you should be concerned. Still, it’s helpful to know what the overall position of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) is on COVID-19. In a recent “alert,” OSHA urged employers to take the following three steps:

  1. Assess the hazards to which workers may be exposed,
  2. Evaluate the risk of exposure, and
  3. Select, implement and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure.
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R&W Editor No Comments

Closing a Practice Doesn’t End Patient Responsibilities

For most small business owners, closing up shop is relatively simple — perhaps they take down their signs, get rid of inventory and turn the lights off. But for a health care practitioner closing a practice, the issues are more complex.

You have a duty to preserve medical records and ensure your patients have access to them. There may even be liability issues after your death that must be addressed in your estate plan.

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R&W Editor No Comments

Investigate Operations Before Signing an Employment Contract

When considering joining or merging with a medical practice, you need to perform a due diligence investigation into the operations of the practice, as well as the finances.

Much of the due diligence you perform in checking into a practice’s finances will overlap with the operations due diligence. For operations information, it’s important to interview current and former practice employees. It’s not uncommon for many of the policies of a practice to be unwritten. The more aspects of the agreement you understand and can incorporate into a written document, the better. At the very least, you want to know the situation you’re getting into. For example, here are some considerations:

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Joseph Heneghan No Comments

Breaking the Cycle of Broken Appointments

Awkward. That’s likely the word that comes to mind when you or members of your staff think about confronting patients who have a habit of arriving late — or not at all. Discussing a patient’s penchant for no-shows takes a bit of fancy footwork at the very least. Mishandle the situation and you may lose a loyal patient.

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Joseph Heneghan No Comments

Facing a HIPAA Audit

Early in the history of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), violations typically involved receiving a warning letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was basically toothless and carried no penalties. In 2009, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which supplied the government with a range of tools to support enforcement. In short, HIPAA grew fangs.

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Joseph Heneghan No Comments

A Clear Policy Improves Billing Results

You may have heard about the Vermont doctor who was fed up with way medicine is practiced today and opened an office she calls “Simply Medicine.” The sole practitioner doesn’t accept insurance. Her fee is listed on a board in the waiting room: $2 a minute for labor, plus the cost of supplies.

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Christine Hradsky No Comments

Tread Carefully When Renting Space

Medical fraud

Office spaces being rented between physicians and medical suppliers are getting more attention for potentially fraudulent activity and kickbacks.

As you know, medical practitioners are subject to a federal law that makes it a felony to influence the referral of federal health care business, including Medicare and Medicaid.

For example, if a physician refers a patient to a specialist and receives part of the specialist’s Medicare payment in exchange, the doctor has committed a felony under the Anti-Kickback Statute and could be subject to criminal and civil charges. The physician could also be excluded from Medicare and other federally funded health care programs. Read more

Christine Hradsky No Comments

Use Eight Strategies to Improve Self-Pay Patient Collections

Patient CollectionsWith the increase in health plans requiring members to pay for all or part of their office visits, practices are faced with the challenge of asking patients for full payment. This can be upsetting for the patients and uncomfortable for staff members. Here are eight strategies for improving collections, including preparing for time-of-service collections, setting up prompt-pay discounts and showing staff how to interact with patients. Read more

Christine Hradsky No Comments

Conduct an Effective Year-End Review

Year-End Review

Year-end meetings are a good time to evaluate organizational finances, structure, and operations.

Like any well-run business, a medical practice needs to step back periodically and try to get a bird’s-eye view of where it has been and where it is going. A good time to perform such a review is at the end of the calendar year. Go into the meeting with a plan, prepared to focus on three critical areas: corporate, financial and operational planning.

It is helpful to have a trusted adviser, such as your accountant, facilitate the meeting. An adviser who knows your practice can keep the agenda focused on the business issues, diffuse tense emotions and provide insight based on experience with other medical offices. Read more

Christine Hradsky No Comments

Selecting Malpractice Coverage and Evaluating Carriers

malpractice coverage

Selecting the terms of medical malpractice coverage is a complex, critical task, as is evaluating insurance carriers.

Medical malpractice insurance isn’t just a requirement — it’s also a major practice expense. Selecting the terms of coverage is a complex, critical task, as is evaluating insurance carriers. In fact, the future of the practice and the reputation of physicians may rest in the balance. Read more