Saturday, April 14, 2012

Enforcement of HIPAA Standard Compliance

Enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA comprises of Title I and Title II. As a protection for health insurance coverage, Title I of HIPAA takes care of insurance claims for workers if they lose their jobs or change their profession. Known also as the Administrative Simplification or AS provisions, Title II demands the necessity for establishing of national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans and employers along with the requirement of establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions. The AS or the Administrative Simplification provisions include privacy and security for health data so that there would be improvement in the nation's health care system with the use of electronic data interchange in the U.S. health care system.

Title II of HIPAA concerns itself with the offenses and misappropriation of healthcare by setting criminal and civil penalties. Title II of HIPAA has created programs to control abuse and fraudulent use of the healthcare system. Title II depends on the Department of Health and Human Services or HHS to form rules for healthcare system efficiency and for the spread of awareness of healthcare and related information. Designed to apply to the rules of the 'covered entities' as stipulated by the HHS and HIPAA, these entities evolve over billing services, transmission of health care data by healthcare providers, health plans, community health information systems and healthcare clearinghouses. The HHS has added on or published five rules with regard to Title II or the Administrative Simplification that ranges over the Unique Identifiers Rule, the Transactions and Code Sets Rule, the Privacy Rule, the Enforcement Rule and the Security Rule.

Implementation of Efficiency

The latest version of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standard electronic claims and related transactions by January 1st, should be implemented by the covered health care providers that include covered dentists, but the enforcement grants time till March 31st. With the HIPAA 5010 transaction set of standards specifying an orderly organization of the electronic data interchange communications content deployed in healthcare, these data evolve over claim status inquiries, electronic claims, claim attachments, eligibility inquiry and response amongst other specifications. According to the announcement of delayed enforcement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of E-Health Standards and Services said that covered entities and trading counterparts would be ready to comply by January 1st. The OESS is also aware that many of the covered entities are still waiting for the software upgrades that are necessary for compliance.

The ADA advises that all covered dentists should organize their practice management and electronic claims software vendors to be ready by 5010. If dental billing systems need to upgrade to be able support version 5010, the dentists should verify the same with the vendor. Dental offices that go through clearinghouses to transmit claims electronically will be required to upgrade systems and curtail claims that do not synchronize with the latest information. Version 5010 specifications are not part of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules but have their origins in the HIPAA Transactions and Code Sets regulations. Clearinghouses that dental offices might use to transmit their claims electronically are also required to upgrade their systems and should curtail claims that do not include the latest information. Covered dentists who change submission of claims or who introduce new technology should go through re-evaluation of HIPAA security procedures and policies and update them accordingly.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Common Naturopath Services

A naturopath is a specialist who works in the field of naturopathy. Naturopathy in turn is a form of alternative medicine (meaning not the medicine recommended by national health professionals). Naturopathic medicine is based on the concept of vitalism which is based around the idea of 'vital energy' or an 'energy force'. In naturopathy it is believed that this guides a range of the body's processes such as metabolism, growth, immune system etc. This also favors a holistic approach to medicine by nature, stating that a change to the vital force will affect the entire body rather than just part of it, and meaning that the reverse is also true. By maintaining your health around your whole body you are able to affect other body parts that are seemingly disconnected. Naturopathy in some ways is similar to other traditional forms of medicine such as the belief in 'Qi' in Chinese medicine, and is simply a different interpretation of some of the same ideas. However as an alternative medicine naturopathy is not recognized by the wider medical community. That is to say that while some doctors may be sympathetic to the concepts, they will not generally recommend naturopathy and there is no consensus in the wider scientific community. That said some people will find that naturopathy has benefits to them and that they can gain from it when used supplementally alongside other medicines. At the same time, for mild complaints and to maintain steady health, they might choose to use naturopathy instead of medicines and drugs that can have sometimes unwanted negative side effects for the body.

It is also worth noting that naturopathy is a wide school that covers a range of practices and modalities. While some of these will appeal to some people, others will be less desirable so it's a matter of being discerning and of picking what makes sense to you and what seems to work for your particular condition.

When you see a naturopath your session will normally begin with a long consultation. Here you will be interviewed and that interview will focus on lifestyle, medical history and a range of physical features and even personality traits. The idea here is already the holistic approach - that any of these seemingly unrelated matters might be connected to symptoms, and this can flag up issues that the person wasn't previously aware of. Traditional naturopathy focuses on lifestyle changes that will then help to support the body's natural ability to heal itself. Traditionally a naturopath will not prescribe any kind of medicine, serum or potion, though this can again vary from place to place. However as naturopathy also includes homeopathy, you might find yourself being recommended a homeopathic remedy which are highly diluted concentrations of active agents designed to encourage the body to heal itself from conditions. The substance is chosen because it mimics the effects and symptoms of the condition, and the idea is then that the body will attempt to combat that effect and will at the same time combat the original problem as it does. Other methods include everything from ozone therapy, abstination from alcohol and smoking, fasting, meditation and manipulation. Note that you should always consult a doctor as well.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Medical Outsourcing - Some Fact Revelation

The world is shrinking. Did you say what? What we mean by it is we are getting better connected and are less defined and bound by our geographic and national boundaries. The current economic downtrend has resulted in a marked decrease in benefits in most of the affected countries. Some of the consequences includes unemployment, loss of healthcare benefits or marked decrease in healthcare benefits. Despite the economic downtown the healthcare costs are still going up. This is mainly due to the hospitalization costs in the developed world. For example, the surgeon and anesthesiologist would make less than six thousand dollars in a surgery that would cost over $50,000 after insurance price negotiations. Where would all this money go? The answer being the high cost of hospitalization has driven up the costs for many of the procedures requiring surgical intervention.

The same $50,000 procedure after the insurance might cost over $80,000 for the uninsured patient. When the patient cannot afford the insurance in the first place, how can one expect him to pay for such massive bills? This has led to skipping on the preventive care among many uninsured and under insured patients and have resulted in the increase of otherwise preventable surgical interventions. These factors have helped the medical tourism industry a lot. The patients are consumers first. A typical consumer generally shops around for the best price available and also tries to get some coupons on top of the best price. And how is this scenario any different? As mentioned before, the world is becoming a smaller place. Most of the products are coming from China. The consumer loves his country made products but don't have much a chance of what to buy because of complex market pressures. The same thing is happening in the field of medical tourism.

The motives for health tourism are different for patients in different countries. For example, some countries in the Middle East and many countries in Africa do not have facilities or expertise to carry out complex life saving surgeries. And many patients cannot afford the prices charged by western countries. And it is also a fact that obtaining a visa also poses significant problem to these patients. Hence the countries like India with enormous hospitals with world class standards and rack bottom prices have become the obvious choice. One would be strprised by the capabilities of these hospitals. Many American patients have commented that the facilities and the service have surpassed that of many American hospitals.

The corporate world is eagerly looking for a way to curb the healthcare costs. They are noticing that the healthcare costs are going up. They also notice that their employees are paying bigger portion of their salaries every year. But this has not resulted in increased care. On the contrary, one would notice that the benefits are constantly dropping with higher deductibles and out of pocket costs. Many employers are today receptive to the idea of incorporating medical tourism as one of the strategies to curb the problem of increasing medical costs. And some have already begun the pilot projects to encourage the employees to utilize medical tourism as one of the alternatives to bring down the costs. If utilized and implemented properly, this should translate in to significant savings in healthcare for the employers and employees alike.

Land That Job Affordably: Where to Go For a Pre Employment Physical Exam

You've been looking and searching, scouring websites and newspapers. You've been posting requests to friends on Facebook, dialing the phone like a mad person and finally... finally, you land the new job! It's time to break out the champagne and celebrate, right? What, not yet? There's one more thing to do? Ah, the pre employment physical exam! Don't worry about it. It's a piece of cake. You're as healthy as a mule (you smell better, but you're as healthy as one), nothing can go wrong. Right?

Well, hopefully. Assuming that you have been eating foodstuffs other than fried chicken and Slurpees your entire lifetime, all should be fine. A pre employment physical exam is a run-of-the-mill exam. Of course, the doctor will do everything in his or her power to alert you to any outstanding or newly found medical problems, but they also realize how important this test is for you. In other words, that it is this test-and at this point only this test-standing between you and a brand new, regular paycheck.

A pre employment physical exam is a set of tests and procedures that a doctor will perform by eye, hand and tool. It will be quick and easy on you-not painful-and hopefully affordable to boot. None of the tests will be invasive and you should be out the doctor's office within an hour. We've all had these exams performed on us at some point in our lives and they are nothing to worry about. Most of us have had them growing up before we were shipped off to summer camp, or perhaps before we attended a special school or program that required one. There is also the physical exam one will undergo if they join the armed forces-but that type of physical exam is different from a pre employment in several different ways.

One thing a potential employer may ask of you is that you prove to them that you are not currently partaking in any illegal drugs. In this case, the doctor will do a drug test to see if you have any non-prescription drugs in your system. When it comes to the "street drugs" testing procedures there is a standard five panel urine test that is commonly used. The drugs that this five panel test looks for are marijuana, cocaine, PCP, opiates (such as Vicodin, morphine and Oxycontin) and amphetamines. It is rather typical for a pre employment physical exam to include these tests.

Other features of a pre employment physical exam may include your medical history, your vitals (height, weight, blood pressure and temperature), vision screening, and a heart test to make sure you are as strong as that mule. (Note: one does not need to be as healthy as a beast of burden to pass a pre employment physical exam!)

Another thing a pre employment physical exam may include is your vaccination history. Many employers want to make sure that their employees are up to date with their inoculations. Many of us have already received these as children and if a booster is required can be easily provided by your medical clinic.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Important Factors in Choosing The Material for Nurse Scrubs

Working in a hospital often means that you have to be alert all the time. We all know just how intense it is to be in an environment where you are always on the go. Every minute is crucial espdcially when you are called on. In other words, workers in this type of institution are expected to be in their best shape. They are expected to be two steps ahead. Now, even their uniforms have already evolved into something better -- perhaps much more comforting, if I may say so.

Being in a room where patients need cure for their diseases can be somewhat scary. That is one of the reasons why medical practitioners are expected to wear their own uniforms. These uniforms are not just for identity purposes. These serve as protection against harmful bacteria or other microorganisms they've been in contact with. Aside from that, they also need to do measures in preventing the contamination of these microbes to other people -- healthy and sick alike.

If you are not familiar with the medical field, you may not know that medical scrubs are unlike any other kinds of uniforms. Since they are made particularly for hospital setting, the fabric and material dries faster than usual. Furthermore, the uniform should ideally be easy to wash -- meaning, stains can be removed easily.

Another major element that is expected in a medical uniform is the weight. Of course, since these medical practitioners are always on the go, they need to have a lightweight uniform that flows with them wherever they go.

Medical practitioners often group themselves according to profession. This can be seen through their uniforms. Aside from being an effective way to identify their roles in the hospital, it can also be somewhat fun for the institution. According to experts, even nurse uniforms can affect the aura of a medical unit. Like for example, nurses who are working in a Pediatric Oncology unit can lighten up a child's mood by wearing a uniform with cartoon characters. In the same way, older patients can experience a slight tranquility when seeing a medical practitioner wearing hues of green and blue. Although this may seem a little petty for some, research says that a slight change in mood can affect the overall wellness of a patient, sick or not.

Working in a hospital can be very stressful. You may feel ecstatic when your patient gets discharged, but you can also be at your lowest after trying to revive your patient to no avail. Either way, the hospital mood is just like a rollercoaster ride. Wearing fun and stylish scrubs is just one of the things that can somewhat help in lifting your moods after a draining shift.

Medical scrubs are now getting the attention of many medical practitioners. Indeed, a lot of people now are looking for ways in lightening up the mood of hospitals. After all, this is the place where sick people gets cured, and not the other way around, right?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Health IT - Five Benefits of Managed Network Services to Medical Practices

Small and medium-sized medical practices that remain hesitant about Managed Network Services are not realizing the value or the peace of mind that comes with having this service. Some of the advantages of using a Managed Network Services provider that specializes in health IT include better cost control and a more comprehensive and up-to-date IT infrastructure that's dependable, stable, and allows medical practices to comply with regulatory compliances.

Medical practices that choose the right Managed Network Services provider can expect to reap the following five benefits:

1) Reduce cost - In today's healthcare environment, it's important to be as cost-effective as possible. Especially in health IT, where unbridled or poorly managed systems cost is extremely high, it's essential to have a system that works within a budget but doesn't compromise on quality. Managed Services is the most feasible and practical way to accomplish that, especially in the long term.

2) Deal with increasingly complex health IT solutions - With both hardware and software components of health IT systems constantly evolving, medical practices with limited budgets may very well find themselves left behind over time. But with Managed Services, medical practices are able to enjoy the advantages of the latest health IT solutions at a fraction of the cost enabling the practice to provide the best possible care to their patients.

3) Gives healthcare organizations a better, more dependable IT infrastructure - Especially for smaller medical practices, it can be tedious and expensive to maintain an in-house IT staff. Not to mention that medical practices run the risk of stretching resources too thinly, which can compromise the quality and output of the IT department. This service allows the practice to have a stable, responsive, and dependable IT arm that's dedicated to meeting the specific needs of the practice in a cost-effective manner.

4) Offers proactive performance and availability monitoring - 24×7 Availability Monitoring and Performance Monitoring should be included as part of the services suite. 24x7 Availability Monitoring provides real-time alerts when a critical device has lost connectivity, thus affecting the practice ability to deliver care to patients. Performance Monitoring allows the ability to view and analyze the performance metrics of the practice IT infrastructure over time, including CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk usage, network utilization and others. These metrics provide the ability to understand when hardware is ready to fail, before it happens, further shortening the amount of downtime the practice experiences.

5) Helps medical practices maintain compliance - Maintaining HIPAA regulatory compliance with regards to the security of patient records and patient privacy is of critical importance for all healthcare organizations. Managed Services helps medical practices to not only fully understand all the requirements under HIPAA, but to also adhere remain in compliance will all requirements.

Managed Network Services helps medical practices considerably reduce IT related expenses while freeing up clinicians to concentrate their focus and efforts on the most important thing, their patient's care and outcomes.