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Are your records requests for post payment audits being misrepresented in the request letter?

  
  
  
records requests letter

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes referred to as "Obamacare") has made some significant changes to the healthcare industry. One of the key ways in which the federal government is hoping to reduce healthcare costs is through making a strong push towards the development of accountable care organizations (ACOs). These organizations are to be comprised of primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and insurance companies who work together as a unit to provide coordinated care for patients. When ACOs are able to improve efficiency, they are rewarded with financial incentives. In order for these groups to qualify, however, they must be able to provide pre and/or post-payment audit information to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Electronic Medical Records: A HIPAA Compliance Overview

  
  
  
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It's no secret that we're living in the digital era. As technology continues to evolve, we are growing increasingly dependent on electronics for even the most basic day-to-day tasks. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that the federal government is making a big push for digitizing the healthcare sector. As the world strives to become a more "paperless" society, it's now time for healthcare professionals to jump on the bandwagon and kick those paper files to the curb. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are the key to streamlining medical processes, improving patient experiences and care, lowering expenses, improving security, and reducing our carbon footprint on the world.

What Impact have HIPAA Requirements Had on Release of Information?

  
  
  
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Throughout the course of the past year, some significant changes have been made to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). With the implementation of HITECH and the Final Omnibus Rule, healthcare providers and payers have been required to re-train themselves on the new regulations and processes as a means of remaining in compliance with the law. This has created some stress and confusion - especially with regards to how to go about handling the release of information process in a manner that adheres to the latest HIPAA requirements. 

Handling release of information requests has always been a sensitive matter and has created challenges for healthcare professionals, but the newest HIPAA requirements make things all the more difficult. Do you feel confident that you and your administrative employees are taking care of release of information requests correctly? If there's any doubt in your mind, it's very important that you take the time to brush up on the most current patient confidentiality laws. This post will explore the ways in which the newest HIPAA rules have impacted the release of information process, and how you can make sure that you're in total compliance.

A Release of Information Outsourcing Success Story You Won’t Believe

  
  
  
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If you think that your facility is the only one struggling with its release of information processes, guess again. Hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare organizations from all around the nation are experiencing the same troubles as you, many feeling completely overwhelmed and hopeless. Such was the case with a pediatric clinic that approached us in the recent past. Not only was this particular facility concerned about a daunting backlog of release of information requests, but the problem actually extended deeper than they had originally imagined. What's more, the operation had no idea how to remedy the situation to create a "clean slate" and move forward with smoother and more timely processes.

Notable Attributes All the Best Release of Information Companies Have

  
  
  
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Have you been thinking about hiring an outsource company in order to assist you with your many release of information requests? If so, you're not alone. After the implementation of the HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule in 2013, patient confidentiality laws are stricter than ever, and fines for violations are nothing to scoff at. Because so many violations occur as a result of a mistake being made during the release of information process, partnerships with outsource companies are growing increasingly popular. But with so many options, you may find yourself wondering how you can be sure that the vendor you select will perform the work properly and help to reduce your risk rather than raise it. Which release of information vendors are best, and what sets them apart from the crowd? In an effort to assist you with the selection process, we've composed this list of the most important attributes that you should be looking for as you review prospective companies to handle your release of information duties.

Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Outsource Your Release of Information Process

  
  
  
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If you ask your administrative staff how they feel about your operation's current release of information processes, you may get responses such as, "I feel like I'm constantly going in circles" or, "I feel like a hamster running on a wheel". As soon as one information request is responded to, another one - or five - will have arrived at your facility, requiring the attention of your employees. The work is never-ending, and it's extremely time-consuming and daunting. As a result, many healthcare organizations end up with release of information requests that are backed up for months at a time. This creates numerous problems for everyone involved. Because this is such a common problem, we've dedicated this post to exploring the problems of spinning your wheels and how outsourcing your release of information processes can help.

Release of Information: Helpful Indicators for Picking the Best Company

  
  
  
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The release of information process has a tendency to be a huge burden for the majority of healthcare professionals - especially since HIPAA regulations and enforcement have been tightening up in the past year. The time, costs, and stress associated with responding to requests for confidential patient information can be downright overwhelming, leading to a reduction in administrative efficiency and morale, as well as high employee turnover rates. It's because of this that many healthcare providers are beginning to recognize the value of working with outsource companies who specialize in handling tasks related to release of information. But while other facilities have found success in working with third-party vendors, you don't want to put your trust in just anyone. In order to protect yourself and your patients, it's important that you are able to count on the fact that your partner will handle their responsibilities with care. How can you be sure that a vendor is trustworthy? As you look for companies to assist you with your release of information processes, here are 5 key characteristics to look for.  

The Release of Information Process can be Very Tedious, Have You Considered Outsourcing?

  
  
  
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Ask any healthcare administrator what his or her least-favorite responsibilities include, and chances are that release of information-related tasks will make the top of the list. Each time a release of information request comes across your employee's desks, they're required to take on a number of tedious, time-consuming, and often stressful tasks. Request forms must be painstakingly compared against patient HIPAA authorization forms. Files must be pulled, and certain medical documents tracked down. Copies must be made, or papers must be scanned. And because the process is so sensitive, double and triple checking is necessary even before the request can be fulfilled and the patient information can be transmitted. Wouldn't it be nice if someone else could shoulder these burdens on behalf of your administrative staff? Working with an outsourcing company to handle release of information processes is becoming increasingly popular. Could this be the right solution for your facility? Here's a look at 5 reasons why you should be outsourcing your release of information-related tasks.

HIPAA Compliance Walkthrough for Electronic Medical Records

  
  
  
hipaa compliance of medical records

In recent years, the government has been making a big push towards the abandonment of older methods of creating, maintaining, and sharing protected health information (PHI) and the adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs). With so many incredible advancements in technology, a growing number of healthcare providers are realizing that this really is the most logical and effective method of handling PHI. By making information more accessible to all necessary parties, EMRs can save time and money, while boosting the quality of patient care at the same time. And when the proper tools and methods are used, security can be significantly improved upon. Even with all of these benefits in mind, though, there are still a good amount of industry professionals who are unsure of their ability to maintain HIPAA compliance when medical records are maintained electronically. If you fall under this category, this post is for you. Here, we'll walk you through all that you need to know about adhering to HIPAA regulations while embracing EMRs. 

I Want to Request Patient Health Information. What are the Current HIPAA Requirements?

  
  
  
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For one reason or another, there may come a time when you are in need of reviewing a patient's confidential medical record. Perhaps as an insurance agent, you require treatment information in order to approve payment. Perhaps as a specialist, you must look over prior treatment, diagnoses, and conditions. Whatever the case may be, it's important to understand that unless you follow the correct procedures set forth by HIPAA, a patient's protected health information (PHI) remains protected. Any violation of HIPAA requirements for handling the release of information process could get you into trouble with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), leading to significant fines and penalties. In order to ensure that this doesn't happen to you, and to enable you to obtain the information that you need in a legal manner, we recommend that you review this guide to the most current rules for release of information requests.

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