Medicare Timely Filing Reduced to 12 Months


As you may recall in my earlier health reform blog,  I noted that one of the several changes to be implemented was the reduction of the initial claims filing period reduced from 18 months to 12 months.  I would encourage you to read the other operational changes impacting collections noted in the blog.

Region A MAC and HCCA Compliance Weekly published the system change on May 14.  Each contractor may have a different published date but it appears that the announcements will be coming very shortly.

Note the change is RETROACTIVE to all claims on or after January 1, 2010! This would indicate that CMS has most likely directed all contractors to this announcement.  Notify your billing staff ASAP, they only have 1 year to file an initial claim.  For providers who must receive documentation from physician’s prior to billing, you must be more diligent than ever before.  If the physician’s are not providing the necessary information to bill for the services ordered, get the patient involved.  The patient can request a copy of their record at any time and can carry the order to the physician for signature.

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.

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Security Tips to help with HITECH Compliance


Here are some tips for added security, but this is not a substitute for using an IT person, who is familiar with HITECH/Red Flag Regulations.  Remember, encryption prevents the need to report disclosures to HHS and avoids penalties.  These are not the only solutions, so no matter what it is crucial to find encryption solutions.  These are the ones I have implemented although I rarely have more than a patient name in reports and do not have more than a patient name or account number in audit reports. 

Prior to starting any process and for your business sanity, ensure you have a current backup of your system.  Remember, onsite backup should have enough “disks” to rotate for several weeks.  Also they do need to be replaced periodically because they can fail after they have been used repeatedly.  There are many free or inexpensive options for offsite and automatic backups including Carbonite, Mozy, Amazon S3, Rackspace and others.  The Jungledisk interface which backs up to Amazon’s S3 or Rackspace is an automatic backup that is thoughtless and has saved my butt many times. These also permit you a second “drive” that can function as a network drive if you need to work on a document while you are away from your office; although you do need internet access.

Security software can be vastly expensive and still not catch viruses.  I use AVG for small business which is about $50/year.  AVG has a firewall plus I have a network firewall.  If you use a wireless network, make sure your settings are the highest or newest released, as of the moment that will be WPA2. I changed my own settings so it is relatively easy.  I have had great luck with AVG from a protection standpoint.  This does not bog down my system so I have to push molasses up hill.  The processing speed is barely impacted.

Truecrypt is a hard drive encryption program that is free for home and small businesses.  The company price is very inexpensive!  It has 256-bit encryption and most banks use 128-bit so should be good protection.  This is pretty simple although, I would recommend using the IT specialist I mentioned.  Now, you will have to consider whether to encrypt the entire drive or part of the drive, it will impact processing speed.  If you have an extensive number of employees I would recommend the entire drive because you cannot ensure they will save documents with PHI in the encrypted drive.  You will also need a 20+ digit password for each computer that can be remembered.

The browser FireFox has 256-bit encryption while Internet Explorer has 128-bit encryption.  Firefox is a little different but not terribly noticeable and now it is all I use.  Firefox is also a free browser.

Myfax is an “internet” fax that will send you notifications via email.  There faxes are PGP encrypted; however, what I learned was you need to receive a email notification, login to your account, and download the file direct to your computer.  If it comes as an attachment to your email then the PGP encryption is void.  The cost is about $10/month for home or small business, but the corporate account is not expensive.

Cutepdf Professional costs about $50.00 you can print documents to pdf (this is in the free version) but if you need to send that document to your consultant or CPA the professional version allows for password protection as well.  You would not put the password in the same package as the CD or in the same email.  It will allow you to open a PDF and make a text box for notes that will print out.  So you do not have to recreate the information then add notes in another tool.  This may be more depending on the number of licenses you need.

When printing and saving reports from your billing system, you can export to excel or similar file, leave the patient account number or patient name only but take out address, and other identifying information that will identify 1 specific person.  These will be HIPAA compliant if all Patient specific information is removed.

Ensure staff understands they cannot place PHI or patient financial information in an email.  Having an email encryption program may not be the solution right now because if you use for example PGP email encryption the receiver of the email must have the same email encryption program and the key code (password if you will).  This may be problematic for awhile.  So this is why I want to give you some other options.  One such one is Hushmail which is a 1028bit online e-mail service, where your e-mail never leaves their servers, and so remains encrypted end to end.  But both sender and receiver have to have accounts (though they do have a free option, you must use it regularly though).

I understand processes, but the inner working of IT I utilize experts.  I am not affiliated with nor promote any specific product, these are only suggestions.  I hope you will subscribe to my blog as well as provide comments.  I use this to broadcase updates and tips to help you run your business.  If you need help with your IT network solutions, here is a  contact that works on my office equipment and they can work with clients nationally.  A big thank you to Glenn for helping me with the correct lingo!

Glenn Kimball         GWK Technologies           

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.


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Tidbit of the Day: The Unknown Benefit of Hair


This is totally unrelated to health care but an interesting story.  As many of you have heard for a couple of weeks of the oil rig explosion in the gulf and the difficulty they are having containing the oil spill and the dramatic effects to the environment as well as the gas pump.  Last night on the local news in Dallas, a story aired on Matter of Trust, a San Francisco nonprofit, recycles the hair scraps and turns it into small mats that help absorb oil. The mats look like large an S.O.S. pads. Other hair is made into booms after being packed into used nylon.  This is low cost and minimal effort.  Send this to your hair dresser, barber, pet grooming, and wool farmers to increase participation.

SPECIAL PROGRAM FOR HAIR & FUR CLIPPINGS
To know what this fun program is about, see our YouTube
Welcome Hair Salons, Pet Groomers, Wool Farmers…

PRESS
Please contact:
Lisa@MatterOfTrust.org

415 235 2403

GULF HAIR BOOM ALERTS
5/5/10 We have more new warehouses and are sending out more addresses for hair donations! Sign up here to get an email with the site to send yours in!

Our thanks to Hanes for the nylons!

We a
re asking all new sign ups (of which we are getting hundreds an hour now) to sign up and be patient for the next addresses for WAVE 2 as we watch the progress of the oil slick.

Today, so many communities are contacting us since they are collecting hair / fur / nylons on large scales around the country. We have all decided to orchestrate a NATIONAL FIBER RECYCLING & OIL BOOM MAKING SYSTEM. With 2600 small oil spills a year all over, each community will be more prepared!

We hope this will also create green jobs (pick ups, boom making). We dream that this will bring the textile industry back to the US so we can make our mats here!

China has been recycling hair and all fibers for over 3,000 years. Their textile industry is BOOMING. Hair mats are basically like flat square dread locks, we really are industrious enough to make these in the US again, too! Sign up here and join us, Please!

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.


Social Media Security and Privacy


Social Media sites are becoming a way of communicating with the world.  Remember, no matter what social media site you are using whether it is an instant message, website profile, social network or skype or similar sites, your communication can be viewed or intercepted.  If you have any of these social media profiles, do not publish your address, DOB, or any other information that could be used to steal your identity, break into your home, stalk you or your children.  Use the incorporation date of your business or a combination of information and chose not to publish your address and DOB.  Ensure you obtain your free annual credit report to review for accuracy.  There are also programs that will monitor your credit activity for potential theft.

Publishing any personal information can lead to not only credit or financial fraud but health care fraud also.  Protect your information.

Remember, this method to communicate with patients is not with HIPAA, HITECH and Red Flag rules if you are exchanging any credit, financial or other personally identifiable information whether health or otherwise.

As a note, you can find us on all Social Media sites: Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, Plaxo, Twitter.  We do submit blogs through these sites and occasional other notes so you can stay updated through status notifications.

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.

Medtrade Spring 2010 – Vegas


The HME & Pharmacy industry has been hit hard the last couple of years with reimbursement cuts, competitive bidding and much more.  The big focus on Medtrade Vegas 2010 is to help the suppliers be proactive and more efficient with their business.  Medical Auditing Solutions will be there to meet with clients and vendors as well to be an active participant in these solutions.

Angela Miller will be speaking Wednesday, May 12,  at 9:15am on “Developing a Risk Protocol for Auditing.”  This program will discuss how to identify the risk model(s) for your business.  Every business will have a different risk model.  The program will review areas for auditing the risk model.   This program will be a tool to help you develop your audit plan.

We look forward to speaking with you.  If you miss the session and would like to schedule a meeting with Ms. Miller, you may contact her by email (angela@medicalauditingsolutions.com) or by mobile (409.673.7103).  No sales calls will be accepted.  This is a time for our clients.

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.