HIPAA : What Is It, Really?

HIPAA : What Is It, Really?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was designed to protect the staff and patients alike. The guidelines and intentions for the creation of this act are explained in this article, along with their implications for your practice.

HIPAA definitionHIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has been around since it was enacted in 1996. All healthcare practice management must be familiar and compliant to this law.

Like most legislation, HIPAA is complex and can be difficult to understand. However, the basic ideas behind HIPAA are very interesting and can be explained relatively simply once you parse out the legal language. HIPAA is divided into two Titles.

Title I: Health Care Access, Portability, and Renewability

The legal ramifications of Title I of HIPAA favor individual staff members and attempts to protect people from insurance company policies that are unethical or dangerous.

For example, if you start working at a new job and are switching from your old group plan to a new group plan through your new employer, HIPAA prohibits your new health insurance company from denying you coverage of a pre-existing condition.

Many health insurance companies will do anything to avoid paying for healthcare for their clients. If a potential new client has a pre-existing condition that will cost the insurance company money, they can refuse to pay for benefits relating to the condition for 12 months after the client has enrolled in the plan.

However, if you had health insurance that was providing you with care before the transfer, you can reduce those 12 months because of HIPAA.

Title II: Preventing Health Care Fraud and Abuse; Administrative Simplification; Medical Liability Reform

Title II is the part of HIPAA compliance that most people are familiar with. Title II pertains to privacy and security of health information, including medical records and health records. The five rules set forth in HIPAA Title II cover everything from the physical security of hard copies of medical records to the safe transmission of electronic health records.

Title II also protects the privacy of patient information by regulating how insurance companies, employer sponsored health plans, and healthcare providers can and cannot share your private information.

Title II is broken into five rules.

The Privacy Rule protects you from businesses that might want to sell your medical information to other interested parties, i.e.: an insurance company selling private patient medical records to a pharmaceutical company that may then be able to target you with advertisements of their products.

HIPAA

The Transactions and Code Sets Rule attempts to standardize health care transactions. To accomplish this, a number of forms were developed to simplify the process of transferring health records and filing claims.

Some problems have arisen due to the complexity of the process and implementation has not been smooth. As a result, an update has changed some of the original procedures.

The Final Rule on Security Standards details how specific safeguards must be put into place to protect patient information. HIPAA’s Privacy Rule says that information must be protected, and the Security Rule talks about how it is protected.

The Unique Identifier Rule made all health care providers adopt a unique ID number. And the fifth rule, the Enforcement Rule, is meant to deter those violating HIPAA by putting financial penalties in place.

Physical Therapy Management Improved Because of EMR

Physical Therapy Management Improved Because of EMR

The best way to increase efficiency and productivity within your current physical therapy management and practice is to use the latest software called EMR.

Nitin Chhoda shows how the right EMR can improve staff’s professionalism and systematize billing, as well as have a positive impact on staff to patient relationships.

physical therapy managementPhysical therapy management and handling patients come in two forms. The first revolves around the interpersonal relationship you have with patients.

This form of physical therapy management is critical to managing the expectations of patients as well as getting the best results from treatment plans.

The second form of patient management is the paperwork side of things. With an EMR for physical therapy management and services, you can improve efficiency in the way you record patient visits, referrals, insurance information, and billing.

Gaining Trust and Demonstrating Professionalism

One way that physical therapy management software can help with patient management is by giving your office a feel of professionalism and modern documentation techniques.

For example, every new patient that enters your office should feel that things are well organized. Trust is an important part of the clinician to patient relationship, and one way patients will come to trust you is through the tidiness and efficiency of the way your practice works.

This kind of judgment starts right away, and will continue into every facet of their experience with your staff and practice. Physical therapy management and documentation software can standardize the paperwork that patients deal with. EMR systems are designed to make communication straightforward for everyone within the practice and with patients.

Billing Expectations

Another way that EMR for physical therapy management and services will improve patient management is through your billing system. EMRs should include an excellent billing system that allows you to bill regularly and quickly. Physical therapy EMRs will include the necessary filing options for health insurance reimbursements, as well.

Patient management often strays into the physical therapy management or meeting patients’ expectations, and the best way to manage expectations is to communicate clearly and preemptively.

In other words, if your patient believes that their insurance policy will cover all expenses, but the policy only covers 80%, you can avoid an uncomfortable situation by communicating those details before you send any bills.

Physical therapy management and billing can be extremely complex from the perspective of the patient. If you can communicate with them about billing and if your EMR has automated calculators for insurance and patient responsibilities, you’ll be able to maintain a good relationship with your patients.

Planning Together

Patient and physical therapy management services can ensure that your patients stay with your practice and that they are an active participant in their own recovery or health plan.physical therapy management improved

Many patients will arrive with a sense of dread or apprehension about their physical therapy sessions.

The best way to ensure that they are ready to do the work is to plan together with them so they know what to expect.

Once a plan is set, an EMR system will help you to maintain consistency within that plan. Electronic medical records are quick and easy to access, and updates are quick and easy to make.

Every visit with a patient can be productive if both you and the patient feel confident about knowing what happened last time and what to expect for the current appointment. Physical therapy management and EMRs provide consistency and efficiency for patient management.

Physical Therapy Management for the New Economy

Physical Therapy Management for the New Economy

Nitin Chhoda shares the status of physical therapy management and practice in today’s economy. Physical therapy management in the new economy represents major changes for therapists, from the treatments provided to monetary reimbursements.

physical therapy managementPresident Obama’s aggressive healthcare reform program has changed physical therapy management in the new economy, the full effects of which are yet to be seen.

The new goals require physical therapists to think less like service providers and more like business owners, focusing on relating not just treating.

New Insights

To assist therapists, Chhoda offered new insights into management issues in the new economy.

“We need great physical therapy management and business systems to empower our clinical skills and retention systems to increase the number of patient visits,” said Chhoda. “Staff members need incentives to perform better and therapists need strategies to build multiple referral systems.”

Physical therapy management services encompass much more than patient care, scheduling, billing and reimbursements. It’s a total plan that maintains the highest patient care standards, builds reputations, and protects the overall profitability of the practice.

EMR Adoption

To insure those goals of physical therapy management services are met, therapists will need to adopt electronic medical records (EMR) technology, identify cost effective treatments and interventions, and help train a superior workforce for the future.

Physical therapy management in the new economy represents major changes for therapists, from the treatments provided to monetary reimbursements.

For many therapists, a large portion of their patients may be those receiving Medicare and Medicaid. Physical therapy management will require affordable access to high-quality care that still provides adequate reimbursements for the practice.

Regulations

physical therapy management new economy

In the new economy, therapists are facing restrictive regulations and payment policies that effectively separate them from the patients that need them the most.

Physical therapists are on the front lines of patient care, working to restore functionality, mobility and quality of life to their clients.

As reimbursements decline, physical therapy management will have to include billing and coding changes, and therapists will need to work to identify treatments that achieve the same effect in a more efficient manner.

Initiating an electronic medical records system will assist therapists manage their practice on a variety of levels. Electronic billing allows faster reimbursement recovery and greater billing flexibility.

Documentation Process

EMRs provide comprehensive documentation at a glance, allowing therapists to begin appropriate treatment quicker. An essential part of future physical therapy management will include increasing referral rates and discovering creative avenues for doing so.

Establishing closer relationships with physician practices and hospitals, and educating them about the benefits of physical therapy will help facilitate that goal. Training an efficient and knowledgeable workforce will insure a superior level of patient care.

Physical therapy management is a multi-faceted endeavor and Chhoda’s new insights provide practice owners with food for thought. Therapists can no longer be satisfied to provide superior treatment. The must identify more effective methods that meet patient needs and enables clinics to remain profitable.

Physical Therapy Management: Top Ten Benefits of EMR

Physical Therapy Management: Top Ten Benefits of EMR

Nitin Chhoda reveals the the top ten benefits to changing over your manual system to electronic medical records. These benefits will help increase your productivity and efficiency within your practice and allow your physical therapy business to thrive.

Top Ten Benefits of EMR

Better Record Keepingphysical therapy management
Physical therapy management and documentation software makes it incredibly simple to keep a complete record of everything that your patient has been diagnosed with.

Whether you have prescribed a rigorous physical therapy regimen to help a patient recover from a nasty fall, or whether you are simply checking on a leg, you can keep better records using occupational therapy software.

Easier to Read
Doctors aren’t known for their stellar handwriting. Rather than risk that someone (including you) can’t read your handwriting, opt for a fully digital solution. Physical therapy management of EMR makes this simple, and makes reading the patient’s information simple.

Bill Quicker
Billing is probably not your favorite part of running an occupational therapy practice. But nonetheless, it is an important part of the job. Minimize the pain by minimizing the work. Physical therapy management and billing is made easy when you use physical therapy management software.

All the necessary information is kept on hand; from what the patient’s address is, to how much they owe you, to how long it takes them to pay. EMR can even handle alerts to remind you when to bill next.

Compete Documentation
Physical therapy management documentation is critical to providing thorough care. Make sure that every thought and note about a patient’s visit is fully documented by using physical therapy documentation software that comes integrated with most complete EMR solutions. All relevant information about every patient will be properly filed and easily accessible.

Easy Patient Management
Managing patients with paper records might be easy when you only have a few, but problems will start to arise as your practice grows. Simplify your patient management system by opting for a digital physical therapy management solution.

Send Records Quickly
Electronic records are far simpler to send than paper records. With paper, you will need to send a photocopy in the mail or fax a paper copy to another facility, where it will be printed out on paper. Doing that wastes time, money, and paper. With most physical therapy management EMR systems you can send the information digitally. It is virtually free to do so, and most facilities have at least one computer in the office.


Receive Records Quickly
Speaking of transfer of medical records, you can also receive digital records instantly with EMR software. And with decent EMR physical therapy management and software, you can even add that information to your own records. EMR makes getting information quick and painless.

Don’t Lose Records 
Paper records have a bad habit of getting lost, misplaced, or damaged. Don’t let paper destroy your practice. Using physical therapy documentation software, you can keep track of every shred of information you have and store it securely online.

physical therapy management EMRScheduling Make Simple
Physical therapy management and scheduling is easy when the records are kept in the computer.

You can keep track of all your patients without worrying about the complexities of paper records.

An Integrated Practice
Physical therapy management software simply makes your physical therapy practice run more smoothly.

Look at all the benefits of running occupational therapy software! Your business will be revolutionized as everything is made more efficient with electronic medical records.

Physical Therapy Documentation: Determining the Best For Your Practice

Physical Therapy Documentation: Determining the Best For Your Practice

Whether web-based or server-based, your physical therapy documentation system should be helping your practice increase productivity.

Nitin Chhoda differentiates these two types of physical therapy EMR documentation, and explains that choosing the right system should not be based on the price alone.

physical therapy documentation practicePhysical therapy documentation is sensitive and complex, requiring a lot of specific knowledge for each staff member involved in using medical records, billing payers, or reviewing reports.

Common Sense Is the Key

In the same way, each practice has to manage their physical therapy documentation in the way that makes the most sense for the staff.

If a practice consists of just a handful of people, you may be able to make a decision based on what everyone is comfortable with.

There are, of course, also the financial considerations. Can your physical therapy documentation practice afford the one-time expenses of purchasing a server, or would you be better served by paying monthly for a web-based EMR solution?

There are many questions you should ask yourself as you look into different solutions, and the specific answers for your practice will not be the same as they are for any other practice.

Dollars and Cents 

The first consideration for almost every practice manager when it comes to physical therapy documentation  is the cost. But the costs of each solution are not as simple as they may seem at first. On the one hand, an in-house server will cost a lot up front.

But many of the truly worthwhile web-based EMR solutions are not cheap, either, and you may end up spending the same amount of money, but over a different period of time.

For a small physical therapy documentation practice, spending money slowly is often better than spending it all at once. For a larger practice, the cost of installing an in-house server may be offset by the gains in productivity that tens or hundreds of staff members achieve with a server-based physical therapy documentation solution.

It turns out that the price difference will not be as significant as you might be lead to believe. So check your prices carefully before assuming that the “cheaper” option is the best just because it costs less right now. There may be set-up costs related to a web-based physical therapy documentation EMR, but its only because it requires that everyone has a computer and that the office has a high speed Internet connection that never goes down.

Speed and Conveniencephysical therapy documentation determination

This is another area where the decision may not be as simple as it seems. Server-based EMRs will always be a tiny bit faster, saving everyone a few seconds here and there.

That time can add up and make a difference; the last thing you want is for clinicians to be waiting for the program to load. But for a smaller physical therapy documentation practice, the time is not as significant and the benefits are not as clear-cut.

The convenience of a web-based solution is often a major selling point. With login information, anyone who needs to access the system can do so, no matter where they are, as long as they have an Internet connection.

As with every stage of the decision-making process, the best solution for your practice’s physical therapy documentation needs will be specific to your practice. There are a lot of things to weigh in making this decision, but remember that what you choose should be useful, convenient, and intuitive for the staff.