Doing Business with Medical Clients

Brian Shrift

Brian Shrift

How the HIPAA Security Rule Affects Your Business

By Brian Shrift, HCISPP

When most business people think about HIPAA, they often write it off as applying only to those in the healthcare industry. However, even if you are not in the healthcare industry yourself, your business could be subject to HIPAA if you work with clients in the healthcare industry or if your clients work with clients in the healthcare industry.

If you work with hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, therapists, dentists, chiropractors or any other business which is considered a “Covered Entity” under HIPAA, you may be considered a “Business Associate” and subject to the HIPAA Security Rule.  In addition, if your clients are considered Business Associates, you may also become a Business Associate, identified in the HIPAA rules as a “downstream vendor.”

If you are a Business Associate, either directly or as a downstream vendor, you must, among other things, comply with the HIPAA Security Rule (the “Security Rule”).  The Security Rule’s primary objectives are to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of protected health information (“PHI”).  In plain English, the law was written to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to protect patient information from unauthorized access and disclosure, improper alterations or deletions, and to assure it is accessible when needed. [Read more…]

Revenue Reality Check: Evaluating Where Your Money Comes From

revenue cycle, medical billing, revenue cycle management, Healthcare Billing & Management, generating revenue,This is the first of a four-part series on the revenue cycle. Our next installment will help you identify holes in your billing cycle and where revenues often leak.  In the third article of the series, we will discuss how to tune up your revenue cycle—how to identify the biggest issues in your revenue cycle and some insight on how to benchmark your revenue cycle against the competition. Our final article will discuss how to improve payer performance and better manage and monitor your contracts with payors. 

Physicians are always challenged to find ways to generate revenue from their medical practice.  Nearly every function in your hospital or practice can generate revenue, yet many are leaving money on the table. Smaller practices, in particular, do not have sophisticated practice management systems to help them see the big financial picture or not using a billing partner to assist them in collecting money.

“One way practices can be proactive in determining solutions that make sense to their specific need and their speciality is to look for a partner, such as billing company, that can focus on some of the challenges they are faced with so they can do what they do best—diagnose and treat patients,” says Jackie Willett, president of the Healthcare Billing & Management Association (HBMA) and senior vice president for Intermix. “The billing partners could help maximize reimbursements as well as ensure compliance in regard to coding and billing regulations.”

Before you begin to worry about how to collect money, you first need to understand how to make money off your practice and where in your practice can you derive revenue.
[Read more…]

Celebrate National Nurses Week with three new STTI books

Happy National Nurses Week! To help celebrate this week, STTI has published three new books surrounding different areas within nursing.

  • Business Administration for Clinical Trials: Managing Research, Strategy, Finance, Regulation, and Quality is written by two leading clinical research coordinators and researchers, helping clinical research professionals who conduct research and performance improvement activities from getting burnt out professionally. This text additionally covers topics in research administration, finance, education, regulation, performance improvement, hiring and avoiding burnout. 
  • Karen Roush, PhD, APN, has written a new step-by-step guide for students to help them write a clear and well-organized dissertation or capstone project. A Nurse’s Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Your Dissertation or Capstone will help the student plan, document, organize, and write their dissertation or capstone. 
  • The future of nursing needs a reality shift and Dr. Leslie Neal-Boylan, Dean of University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, is pointing out trends and issues that have been consistent in nursing throughout history in her latest book, The Nurse’s Reality Shift: Using History to Transform the Future. She offers great opportunities for nursing and health care professionals to understand the history of nursing.

These books are available at

STTI Releases New Disaster Preparedness Text

New book guides nurse educators in integrating disaster prep into curriculum

From natural disasters to infectious diseases to human conflict, disasters are occurring more frequently and with more impact than ever before. While it is almost impossible to prevent many of these crises, it is possible to prepare for them.

Written by nurses who have dedicated their careers to understanding and improving disaster preparedness in education and health care, Designing and Integrating a Disaster Preparedness Curriculum: Readying Nurses for the Worst is the first book of its kind — a how-to for incorporating disaster content into nursing education. Authors Sharon Stanley, PhD, RN, RS, FAAN, Col. (ret), and Thola A. Bennecoff Wolanski, MSN, RN, emphasize the importance of training future nurses to competently tackle disasters.

“The integration of disaster nursing content into a nursing curriculum is critical to our national preparedness,” said Stanley.

The book offers a blueprint for incorporating disaster preparedness education into an already crowded nursing curriculum. By ensuring that students know how to respond to potential disasters and that practitioners have the tools necessary to stay at the forefront of disaster preparedness, nurse educators and leaders can feel confident that their students and teams can competently confront disasters of all kinds.

The book is available at

Designing and Integrating a Disaster Preparedness Curriculum: Readying Nurses for the Worst
By Sharon Stanley, PhD, RN, RS, FAAN, Col (ret), and Thola A. Bennecoff Wolanski, MSN, RN

Book Information:

Published by STTI, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781940446042
EPUB ISBN: 9781940446059
PDF ISBN: 9781940446066
MOBI ISBN: 9781940446073
Price: US $59.95
Trade paperback, 416 pages
Trim size: 73/8 x 91/8

About the authors

Sharon Stanley, PhD, RN, RS, FAAN, Col. (ret) has served over 35 years in public health at local, state, and national levels and is an Army veteran with Vietnam, Desert Storm, and OIF/OEF service. Most recently she was chief nurse of the American Red Cross, providing leadership to over 15,000 Red Cross nurse volunteers and serving as a senior health policy and planning leader for the organization. Stanley is a 2013 recipient of the International Red Cross Florence Nightingale Medal and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow alumna.

Thola A. Bennecoff Wolanski, MSN, RN, is an assistant professor of nursing education at Elmira College and a Doctor of Nursing Practice candidate at Loyola University. She has worked in critical care and emergency/trauma nursing for nearly 25 years. A Johns Hopkins University grad, Wolanski has developed the leadership model for disaster preparedness training that is presented in this text.

5 Creative Ways to Gain Cooperation from a Senior with Dementia

cooperationAccording to the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness newsletter, “nearly all people experience some form of cognitive decline later in life.” Cognitive decline can cause memory impairment and loss of the ability to reason.

This may explain why elderly parents or other loved ones can become increasingly stubborn as they age. Of course, older people can become stubborn for a variety of other reasons as well—like simply being set in their ways. That stubbornness can do more than cause caregiver frustration, however. In certain situations, it can even lead to non-compliance with doctor’s orders. In fact, a study conducted for the Prevent Senior HospitalizationsSM program by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, cited unwillingness to change as a top cause for not following doctors’ orders.

So how can you overcome your loved one’s constant refrain of “no”? Try these practical tips to gain cooperation and reduce your feelings of caregiver stress. [Read more…]

Actual Savings Must Be Considered for Health System ROI

Nederland, Amsterdam, 04-06-2010Management Tools4EverBy Dean Wiech

Business managers and organizational leaders must constantly ensure that their budges are being adhered to and that purchases by the organization are considered and proven not to be a waste of money and resources. However, return on investment (ROI) for organizations is a combination of both hard and soft costs and savings, which can often be difficult to determine.

Let’s take a look in detail. The hard cost is easy to define: What is spending now versus what will be spent on a different product, solution or system or even by doing nothing.

Alternately, how is a specific solution going to allow the organization to save money in the long run? In this scenario – hard costs and savings — there is a definitive dollar figure that is able to be applied to implementing a solution.

Soft savings are a bit more difficult to factor. Soft savings are more difficult to determine and to document because they often include intangibles like time and labor saved, or stress saved by employees completing a task that takes 10 minutes versus 35 minutes. Soft savings also might be seen in improvements in customer service or in the customer experience. It is difficult to put a dollar amount on these scenarios and improvements, but they do impact a business, its success and its financial performance. [Read more…]

Salute To Nurses

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 2.12.27 PMDuring National Nurses Week and throughout the year, we’re proud to celebrate the role nurses play in delivering the highest level of quality care to their patients.

The National Nurses Week 2015 theme “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” recognizes the importance of ethics in nursing and acknowledges the strong commitment, compassion and care nurses display in their practice and profession.

In fact, during the entire month of May, we will be highlighting our annual Salute to Nurses on our website. We would love to have your organization be part of this special online feature, both in terms of advertising and editorial.

Over the past couple months, we’ve successfully transitioned to an all-digital media outlet. To celebrate this transition, we’re offering a one-time low rate of $375 for the month of May.

For this amount, your organization receives:

  • Ad in the sidebar of our website throughout May
  • Additional ad on the home page of our site (1/4-page equivalent size)
  • Publish any article or press releases regarding your organization
  • Share the ad and content with our 7,000+ social media connections

Does any of this sound valuable to you?

If so, email us today to reserve your space!

It is a Changing Time for Health Care and the Nurses Who Provide the Care

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 4.12.22 PMNurses are involved in today’s health care changes. Innovation and technology are at the forefront and improving health is the focus.

By Angel Hoffman, RN, MSN

Today, there are many individuals talking about big data and precision medicine, while wondering what this all means to the future of health care. Topics which emerge are health and wellness and you may as well add preventative care to the list as well. However, these are not new terms to those who have been in the health care industry for more than thirty years.

Nursing programs taught about preventative care and wellness, but then Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) were launched and a whole new way of thinking changed the way business and reimbursement were conducted. There was an emphasis on disease management and cancer centers sprung up all over the country. Significant strides in medical advancement and technology contributed to improved outcomes. Joint replacements and cardiac surgery became somewhat routine and the cost of health care continued to rise.

[Read more…]

Nursing Classes Forming Now at LaRoche College

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Thank You to all of Our Nurses—Ohio Valley General Hospital

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Nurses are the Heartbeat of psaHealthcare

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Creating a NEW Patient Experience…Nurses MUST Lead the Way!

Jeff TobeBy Jeff Tobe

Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when MacDonald’s charges $2.00? Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than at a stay at the Holiday Inn? Most people today would answer that it’s all about ‘customer service’ when, in fact, they would be wrong!  Both MacDonald’s and Holiday Inn offer incredible customer service.  What Starbuck’s and Ritz Carlton understand is that it is about the customer EXPERIENCE!

Patient “experience” has become the new buzz word in the nursing profession and I am not sure that most health care organizations really understand it.  ‘Service’ is what you offer your patients everyday as a trained professional; it is personal and it comes from the heart.  Patient ‘experience’ is about considering our patients’ experiences from the minute they make contact with our organization until the minute they are done.  This involves so many more people than just you. 

[Read more…]

Online ICD-10 Training At Pittsburgh Technical Institute

PTI is now offering ICD-10 training online.

This course is designed to assist the experienced medical coder in transitioning from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM. The course will provide an Introduction ICD-10-CM, highlight the differences between the two coding systems, and provide guidance for individual chapters. Students who attend all four sessions of this course will be awarded eight continuing education credits which have been approved by the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). Click on the image to learn more or to register today.


Technologies to Support Clinical Documentation Improvement (Part 2)

Dr Jon Elion, MD, FACC- Founder, President of ChartWise Medical SystemsBy Dr. Jon Elion, Founder and CEO of ChartWise Medical Systems

In Part 1 of this discussion, we looked at the emerging role that Rules-Based Expert Systems and “Software as a Service” are starting to play in Clinical Documentation. This discussion continues in Part 2 as we move on to look at new applications for Business Intelligence in CDI

Business Intelligence

The utilization of an electronic CDI program enables data to be grouped, analyzed and presented to the user in a way that isn’t possible with paper-based systems.  Moving far beyond providing the user with a list of work to be done that day, a well-designed electronic system can provide reporting layers that start with a summary snapshot and drill-down to details and metrics.   This can include query response rates, case mix index changes, revenue impact and compliance, both within the individual hospital and across the peer group.  Most importantly, it not only monitors the efficiency of the current CDI program, but a good system will also provide insight into improvement efforts still left to be achieved. Dashboards and scorecards help to bring the data to life, putting it in the hands of those who can affect change, and helping to transform the way we deliver healthcare.

Data Warehouse

As CDI software evolves, we can move from yesterday’s world where we looked at old, stale data, into today’s world of real-time reporting.  Constrained by older technology, some hospital data center aggregate their data monthly, while other more advanced sites are able to aggregate weekly, and very few are able to do so daily.  But to have a real impact on using data to transform healthcare delivery, it needs to be run even more frequently – at the “speed of thought”. As the data technologies catch up with medical requirements, it is now possible to run your healthcare enterprise based on information from 6 minutes ago, not 6 months ago.

Many hospitals today are satisfied with using stale data for their CDI programs.  They might use consultants to process and report on CDI metrics, getting back data that is already months old. By using sophisticated database analytics technology, the best CDI software can give you up-to-the minute, on-demand reports that give you data you can use this minute to make healthcare decisions while the patient is still in the hospital.

[Read more…]

March of Dimes Announces Honorees for 5th Annual Transportation, Building & Constructions Awards

The West Penn Division March of Dimes is pleased to announce the honorees for the 2015 Transportation, Building & Construction Awards.  This year marks the 5th anniversary of this annual event honoring the leaders and architecture from both public and private sectors of transportation, building and construction industries. Over the last five years, more than $500,000 has been raised for the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies. 

This year’s honorees are: 

  • Labor Leader of the Year – Mr. Michael Dunleavy, Business Manager – I.B.E.W Local 5
  • Transportation Project of the Year – Route 28 East Ohio Street Improvement Project, PennDOT
  • Building Project of the Year – AHN Health + Wellness Pavilion, Allegheny Health Network
  • Special Projects Award – Shale Development at Pittsburgh International Airport, Allegheny County Airport Authority & CONSOL Energy

The March of Dimes Transportation, Building & Construction Awards Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, June 17th at the Westin Convention Center with a reception at 11:30 a.m. and a luncheon at 12:30 p.m.  The event is expected to draw over 500 attendees while raising important funds for the March of Dimes.    

[Read more…]